Game 7: Florida Gulf Coast Preview

The Bearcats will look to improve to 7-0 on Sunday afternoon when Florida Gulf Coast visits Fifth Third Arena for a 1 p.m tip off.

Coming off an 86-81 overtime victory at Howard, the Bearcats received top 25 votes for the first time in the Wes Miller era. 

Florida Gulf Coast comes in on a different trajectory. The Eagles are 2-6 and ended a 5 game losing streak on Wednesday with a 68-65 win over Florida International.

Game Notes:

- UC's 6-0 start is the best since winning their first 7 during the 2017-2018 season.

- Cincinnati is 24th in scoring offense, including 5 straight games of 80-plus points. The last time UC accomplished that feat was during the 2005-06 season under Andy Kennedy.

- Florida Gulf Coast has struggled offensively through the first 8 games. They rank 288th in points per game (69) , 261st in field goal percentage (42.6) , 272nd in 3-point percentage (30.7), and 311th in assists (10.8). The Eagles are a decent team at the free throw line (70.4%) but that still ranks 195th nationally. 

- The Bearcats ranks 7th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0) while FGCU ranks 269th (0.9).

- FGCU has been turnover prone this season, averaging 12 per game. Look for Cincinnati to use their pressure, depth, and athleticism to try to force FGCU in to mistakes early, leading to transition points. 

- The Eagles have 9 players averaging over 13 minutes per game.

- FGCU was picked to finished second in the preseason Atlantic-Sun poll.

Players to know:

6'1 Sr Isaiah Thompson

Thompson was the lone Eagle picked on the Preseason All A-Sun Team. The senior guard comes in to the match up against Cincinnati averaging 14 ppg on 39% from the field. His three-point field goal percentage is down this year compared to last year (38% to 30%) but he has three games this year with multiple makes. During the past three games, he has 15 turnovers. How he handles the UC pressure will be something to watch.

6'7 Jr Zach Anderson

Anderson is coming off a game where he scored just 3 points with 4 turnovers, but still averages 12 ppg, 5.3 rpg on 45% from the field. The versatile forward is someone that will have to be a focus out on the perimeter. Anderson made 5-of-7 three point attempts against Indiana and is shooting 42% on the year.

6'8 Sr Keeshawn Kellman

Kellman is the Eagles leading rebounder (7.6 rpg) and has been efficient from the field, averaging 10.5 ppg on 62% shooting. Kellman finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds in FGCU's 86-74 loss to Pitt earlier in the season. 

6'3 Sr Chase Johnston

Johnston did not play in the Eagle's win over FIU but is averaging 9.0 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game. Johnston is a guy that is going to let it fly from outside. He has 6 games this season with 6 or more attempts from three, but is shooting just 29% on the year.

6'3 Jr Dallion Johnson

Johnson had his best game of the year with 19 points, 6 rebounds in Wednesday's 68-65 win over FIU. He also had 17 points in the Eagles' 69-63 loss to Indiana. For the year, Johnson is averaging 8.3 ppg and is 35% from the field. Johnson is another guy that will let it fly from outside. He has three games this year with 3 or more makes from deep and has two games where he made five three-pointers. 

6'10 Jr Andre Weir

6.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg.

Finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds against Pitt.

6'3 Sr Franco Miller Jr

4.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg

6'3 Sr Cyrus Largie

4.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 66.7% FG

Final Thoughts:

FGCU has been an interesting team this year, despite their 2-6 record. They went on the road and lost to Indiana 69-63 in game 1 and trailed Pitt by 5, 78-73, with 3:31 left in the game. UNC-Willington is the only game that they weren't really competitive in, losing 71-55.

Cincinnati should win by double digits but FGCU has a team that can come in to Fifth Third Arena and be competitive. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.


Simas Lukosius Update:

Cincinnati head coach Wes Miller shared during Thursday night's coach show that he arrived late because Bearcats' forward Simas Lukosius had been hit by a car while crossing the street earlier in the day. 

Miller released the following statement on the incident:

“We are relieved to report that Simas has no major injury from Thursday night, and his participation status is day-to-day. He is feeling better from the initial shock of the incident, and we are grateful for everyone’s support.” 

Hoops Classic v Dayton Update:

Per Release: University of Cincinnati men’s basketball coach Wes Miller and University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant will team up with altafiber to bring a holiday surprise to kids at the Middletown Community Center on Monday, Dec. 4 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Both coaches as well as altafiber Manager of Dayton Region Development Eric Farrell will speak briefly at the event, which promotes the upcoming Hoops Classic Presented by altafiber and CareSource men’s basketball game between the two local rival programs scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at Heritage Bank Center. Game time for the contest was recently announced as a 7:00 tip off.


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