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Gators dominate rebounding in NCAA South Regional victory over FGCU

Mar. 30, 2013


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ARLINGTON, Texas.— There was one key component to the FGCU men’s basketball team’s defense that was frustratingly missing Friday night at Cowboys Stadium for the Eagles in their NCAA tournament Sweet 16 game against Florida.

“We’d play pretty good defense and get a stop and negate it all by not getting the rebound,” FGCU redshirt senior forward Eddie Murray said. “They were killing us down low. We had some struggles rebounding the ball. They got some easy little put backs that really hurt us.”

FGCU allowed Florida to grab 15 offensive rebounds and score 16 second-chance points as it saw its Cinderella season end after a 62-50 loss to the Gators.

The Gators (29-7) grabbed 10 of those offensive rebounds in the first half which helped key a 16-0 first-half run that put the Eagles (26-11) behind for good.

“They had way too many extra possessions for us to win this game,” FGCU junior guard Christophe Varidel said. “We got beat (because of) offensive rebounds.”

In addition to controlling the offensive glass, Florida did a good job corralling FGCU’s second chance opportunities. The Eagles had just six offensive rebounds as a team and that resulted in only eight second chance points.

Combine that with FGCU only scoring 12 points in transition and you will get the Eagles’ worst offensive output of the season, which Friday night’s game was.

“We were doing some things that we typically don’t do,” Murray said. “They are an amazing defensive team. They were really getting into us and taking away the next pass. We had some struggles.”

The Eagles held the Gators to 38.6 percent shooting from the field but Florida attempted 13 more shots than FGCU.

“As much as we played good defense… without boxing out you can’t win games like this,” FGCU sophomore forward Filip Cvjeticanin said. “UF was a great team, they were a top-10 team in the country.

“This definitely wasn’t our A game.”

Six different Gators had four or more rebounds in Friday night’s game, which speaks to the overall athleticism of Florida that FGCU could not match.

“I tried to recruit Shaq and Bill Russell at halftime, but they were busy,” FGCU coach Andy Enfield said.

“We found and manufactured different ways to score,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “Casey (Prather), when he came in the game, I thought he did a great job of getting on the glass. Mike (Rosario) had a big offensive rebound in the second half.”

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