Courtesy of FGCUAthletics.com
DeLAND, Fla. – Sophomore Caleb Catto (Cape Coral, Fla.) scored a career-high 19 points and junior Jalen Warren (Milton, Ontario) scored eight of his 16 points in overtime as the FGCU men’s basketball team won 66-62 at Stetson’s Edmunds Center on Saturday evening.
The back-and-forth contest featured 18 lead changes and eight ties before the Eagles were able to pull away in the final 64 seconds of overtime.
“I thought that was as gritty of a road win as we’ve had since I’ve been here; it was a great team effort and we really had some guys step up tonight,” said head coach Michael Fly. “We challenged them tonight to limit Stetson on the offensive glass and to hold them to zero second chance points was a really huge accomplishment. I’m really proud of the fight and resolve that the team had especially when we were down some late.”
FGCU (5-14, 2-2 ASUN) carried a 27-26 lead into halftime, but needed Catto’s career-best fifth three-pointer of the day with 17 seconds left in regulation to force the extra stanza. Stetson (7-11, 1-2 ASUN) took an early lead in overtime, but Warren’s performance helped lift the Eagles to their second overtime and first road victory of the season.
Catto finished the day going 5-of-7 from three-point range and 7-of-13 overall while adding six rebounds. Warren’s 16 points included a 4-of-4 free throw performance with two of them coming in the final 25 seconds of overtime pushing the FGCU lead to four. Rounding out the Eagles’ top scorers was sophomore Zach Scott (Miami, Fla.) who had 10 points, while senior Tracy Hector (Riverdale, Ga.) tied his career-high with 7 assists to go with five rebounds and three steals.
Stetson led by as many as seven midway through the first half, but a 10-to-2 run for FGCU put the Eagles back ahead, 19-18, at the 7:43 mark. The teams traded leads three more times after that before Warren found freshman Dakota Rivers (Windermere, Fla.) for the go-ahead dunk just prior to the intermission.
The second half saw both teams trading buckets as the stanza featured 10 lead changes and six ties. With 1:23 to go, Mahamadou Diawara hit a lay-up putting the Hatters up three. Both teams missed jumpers on the ensuing possessions before Catto tied the game, 54-54, with 17 seconds to go. Jahlil Rawley was able to get a shot off just before the buzzer but it was off target sending the game to overtime.
The Hatters scored first in overtime with a triple from Rob Perry and kept the lead for nearly three minutes until a pair of free throws by junior Justus Rainwater (Enumclaw, Wash.)tied the game at 60-60.
A running jumper by Warren followed by two free throws put the Eagles up 64-60 with 25 seconds to go. Stetson pulled back within two, but, with 12 seconds to go, Scott hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead to four, 66-62. After a timeout, Perry was able to get off another three-point attempt with two seconds to go, but was just off the mark with Catto clearing the rebound to preserve the win.
Perry finished the night with a game-high 27 points for Stetson as he hit 10-of-18 from the floor and was 5-of-9 from deep. Christiaan Jones rounded out the Hatters’ top scorers with 13 points.
Overall, FGCU hit 21-of-48 from the floor and went 18-of-20 from the free throw line for one of its best performances of the year. The Hatters shot 25-of-54 and were limited to just 6-of-10 at the line.
Defensively, the Eagles were able to corral 23 defensive rebounds and did not allow a single second-chance point for the Hatters in the game.
FGCU will return to action this Thursday, Jan. 16 when Kennesaw State visits Alico Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 PM and the game will be streamed live on ESPN+.