College Basketball

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Florida Gulf Coast (25-10) vs. San Diego State (23-10)



Sunday, March 24, 7:10 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Center (20,328) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: TBS. NCAA Tournament Record: FCGU 1-0, SDSU 3-8. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: After pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, the 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles return to action in the third round of the South Region on Sunday night when they tangle with the seventh-seeded San Diego State Aztecs at the Wells Fargo Center.

This bout marks the first-ever meeting between the two squads in men's basketball, and the winner will advance to the Sweet 16 to face either third- seeded Florida or 11th-seeded Minnesota.

Florida Gulf Coast (25-10) could not have made a better impression in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game, as it shocked the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the second round on Friday night, 78-68, marking only the sixth time in tournament history a No. 15 seed has toppled a No. 2 seed. The Eagles, the champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference who are in just their second season of Division I postseason eligibility, were surprisingly dominant in the win, taking control of the contest with a 21-2 run early in the second half to open up a 19-point lead, and they were able to hold off a late rally by the Hoyas. Sherwood Brown (24 points, nine rebounds) and Bernard Thompson (23 points, rebounds) were both outstanding in the winning effort, as was Brett Comer, who set the tone at the point with 12 points, 10 assists and six boards.

The Eagles are a balanced team at both ends of the floor, as they average 73.2 ppg on greater than 46 percent shooting from the field, while at the same time yielding 66.8 ppg. They also help themselves with positive turnover (+1.2) and rebounding (+1.2) margins. The primary reason for FGCU's success this season has been thanks to Brown, who tallies 15.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 1.4 spg and was named the A-Sun Player of the Year. Thompson is also having an outstanding campaign with 14.3 ppg, and he is one of the nation's top thieves with 2.8 spg. Chase Fieler (12.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Comer (8.0 ppg, 6.4 apg) also play significant roles.

As for San Diego State (23-10), it battled neck-and-neck with Oklahoma for most of its second-round matchup, as the game was tied at 48-48 midway through the second half, but it managed to rip off a 22-7 run down the stretch to claim the 70-55 triumph. Jamaal Franklin was clearly the catalyst in the winning effort, scoring 21 points (shooting 7-of-7 from the foul line), while adding eight rebounds, five assists and two steals to his stat line. James Rahon was a huge asset off the bench with 17 points, Chase Tapley finished with 10 points, and Deshawn Stephens hauled in 11 rebounds. The victory for the Aztecs was their third in the NCAA Tournament, having previously advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2011 as a No. 2 seed.

The Aztecs boasts a stellar offense (69.2 ppg, .438 FG percentage), but even more impressive is their defensive effort, as they allow a mere 60.5 ppg on less than 39 percent field goal efficiency. At the center of SDSU's game plan is Franklin, who is without question one of the most versatile guards in the nation. In addition to scoring a team-high 16.9 ppg while knocking down more than a 3-pointer per contest, at just 6-foot-5, he is one of the best inch- for-inch rebounders in the nation (9.4 rpg), and if that wasn't enough he also chips in with 3.3 apg, 1.5 spg and 0.8 bpg. Tapley is a much more traditional perimeter player, netting 13.4 ppg on 67-of-178 from beyond the arc (.376), while Xavier Thames falls just shy of the double-digit scorer's club (9.6 ppg), mostly due to his poor field goal percentage (.350).

To say that FGCU played inspired ball against Georgetown in the second round would be an understatement, as it came out with an abundance of energy and caught the Hoyas completely off guard, and after defeating Miami-Florida earlier in the season, it has proven to be capable of more than simply catching lightning in a bottle. SDSU certainly will not take the Eagles lightly, and Franklin is bound to cause matchup problems, but FGCU is a legitimate threat as a Cinderella team and will continue its magical run with another upset victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Gulf Coast 68, San Diego State 66

03/24 10:32:34 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
7:05pm Tuesday
PHI 0
ATL 0
7:05pm Tuesday
NYY 0
CHC 0
7:05pm Tuesday
BAL 0
TAM 0
7:08pm Tuesday
DET 0
CLE 0
Final
CIN 7
PIT 5
Final
MIA 11
WAS 2
Final
TEX 5
SEA 0
Final
CWS 2
BOS 1
Final
HOU 2
KAN 4
Final
MIL 1
STL 6
Final
MIN 3
TOR 9
Final
ARI 0
NYM 9
Final
ANA 9
OAK 10
Final
SDP 2
COL 3
Final
SFG 3
LOS 2
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
 
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
 
Final
BRK 98
NYK 109
Final
LAC 117
DEN 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR