FGCU's Eddie Murray dunks during second-half play against Georgetown on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. / Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
MARCH 23, 2013 —
PHILADELPHIA — FGCU junior Chase Fieler is not sure he has ever jumped that high. Sophomore teammate Brett Comer felt like the Eagles had just sealed the deal.
And the yarn-spinning leader of these yucksters, second-year FGCU coach Andy Enfield, joked that he thought Comer, his team’s brash, flashy playmaker, was passing the ball to him.
In reality, though, Comer threw the ball up from range before a chasing defense could reach him, and the 6-foot-8 Fieler soared to throw it down.
And a March Madness highlight for all time was born.
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“I’ve got some crazy dudes on my team,” said Enfield, whose 15th-seeded Eagles upset second-seeded Georgetown 78-68 Friday night thanks in part to a late-game alley-oop that dropped jaws in the Wells Fargo Center and sent countless others racing to spit out messages of disbelief on Twitter.
“I don’t know where the ball is going half the time, and then usually it winds up in a guy’s hands, and he’s either dunking or laying it in. I’m like, ‘Great pass, Brett.’”
The true story is FGCU keeps a statistic called the “dunk tank” – it’s up to 139 now with five dunks Friday night – and works in practice on its timing completing plays in transition and in half-court play.
Not that the rest of the world cared how they arrived at that thrilling highlight.
“I think the (3-pointers) they hit really in the second half may have been more important,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. “But that was a spectacular play.”
Fieler saw the play setting up miles away.
“He has seen me all year,” said Fieler, the team’s dunks leader with 59 after slamming in three more Friday. “Brett has great vision. He just threw it up and I had to go get it.”
The basket gave FGCU a 67-58 with 1:56 remaining and slowed Georgetown’s full-court pressure march from a 52-33 deficit early in the second half to a 72-68 deficit with under a minute to play.
But the alley-oop also helped FGCU maintain its reputation as an athletic foe to be reckoned with.
“It was a little risky. But that’s our style,” Enfield said. “We have a lot of risk-reward with pushing the ball like this. Offense around the country is down this year. We don’t like to play that style.
“I just saw the ball flying up in the air, and I saw Chase going 12-and-a-half feet to dunk it. And I said, ‘Great play.’”
FGCU dunks in 2013
Chase Fieler: 58
Eric McKnight: 33
Eddie Murray: 18
Bernard Thompson: 12
Sherwood Brown: 11
Leonard Livingston: 6
Brett Comer: 1