When it comes to conference tournaments, anything can certainly happen, and the Atlantic Sun Conference is no exception. The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the Kennesaw State Owls met up at Alico Arena in Fort Meyers, Florida as the Eagles finished conference play at 8-6 and the Owls finished it at 7-7. This bird battle would be an excellent game in the 4 - 5 matchup of the eight team conference.
Yonel Brown Starting Hot
Having scored double digits in every game since they faced the Louisville Cardinals way back on December 16, Yonel Brown is the high scoring player on the Owls and is a threat to score every time he gets his hands on the ball. He wasn't backing down early in this contest either, as he played all 20 minutes of the first half, scoring 14 points from the floor on 6-10 shooting. Considering the fact that he is a smaller player at 5'9" and just 160 pounds, Brown has always over performed in accordance to his size. The Eagles would make some adjustments for him in the second half though, which would hold him to just five points on 1-2 shooting from the floor. Brown was the key in keeping the Owls in the game in the first half as they trailed only by 2, 36-34 to the Eagles heading into halftime.
Florida Gulf Coast's Second Half Run
Brown had started the second half hitting a three pointer, and the Owls had some hope, but it would not last for long. Kendrick Ray made a jump shot for the Owls with 17:35 remaining in the second half and the Owls were down just 42-41 at that point, but the Eagles started getting hot. Marc-Eddy Norelia started off with a dunk that was assisted by Christian Terrell. Then Terrell decided to hit back to back shots from downtown to extend the lead. Norelia would dunk again to extend the lead to 52-41 and having given the Eagles a 10-0 run. Brown would hit two free throws with 14:12 left in the half to cut it to single digits. But despite their best efforts, the closest the Owls would make it the rest of the game would be a six point deficit as they never had another opportunity to take the lead.
Scoring: Yonel Brown (19 points, 7-12 shooting, 2-5 three pointers, 3-5 from the free throw line)
Assists: Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell both from Florida Gulf Coast, each with 3 assists.
Rebounds: Marc-Eddy Norelia (2 offensive, 10 defensive, 12 total rebounds)
Rest of the Bracket
The North Florida Ospreys took down the USC Upstate Spartans in the 1 - 8 matchup. Dallas Moore scored 22 to lead the Ospreys to a 92-69 victory. The Ospreys will face the FGCU Eagles next on Thursday.
In overtime, the Lipscomb Bison had an upset victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins. J.C. Hampton scored 35 points to lead the Bison to victory by a final score of 92-89.
The NJIT Highlanders were excited to host the Stetson Hatters, but the Hatters had something up their sleeves. Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, Derick Newton scored 28 points and had 11 rebounds to have an upset of their own as the Hatters would leave New Jersey victorious by a final score of 82-67. The Hatters will play the Bison in the next round.