Sunday Night Hoops: Clash of Cinderellas as FGCU Visits UMBC at 7 P.M.

photo by:Ian Feldmann
photo by:Ian Feldmann

UMBC vs. FGCU Game Notes 

It's not a "Clash of the Titans", but a Clash of Cinderellas on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the UMBC Event Center.


The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles – recipients of the NCAA Tournament glass slipper in the late winter of 2013 – visit Baltimore to face the UMBC Retrievers, who thrilled the nation on a similar stage back in March of 2018.  


Opening tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by ESPN+ with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier on the call.


Retriever Review: Towson junior forward Brian Fobbs hit a step-back 3-point field goal with 10.4 seconds left to snap a 76-all tie and propel the visiting Tigers to an 80-76 double overtime victory before a season-high 2,476 at the UMBC Event Center.


Brandon Horvath led four Retrievers in double figures with 19 points. UMBC only converted 2-of-10 second half free throws, while Towson sunk 7-of-8 in a game that featured 20 ties or lead changes.


Graduate student Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) leads four Retrievers in double figures with 13.9 points per game. Sherburne is second in America East in field goal percentage at 54.1 percent and third in both assist-to-turnover radio (2.0) and minutes played (35.6) per game. Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) checks in with 12.0 points per game and his 27steals are the seventh-most in the nation.


Notable: UMBC has dropped back-to-back home games for just the second time in Ryan Odom's tenure. The Retrievers dropped 2017 games to Hartford (Feb. 9) and Vermont (Feb. 12) at the RAC Arena. The recent setbacks have both occurred as foes have knocked down treys on their final field goal attempts of the game.


UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 65.5 points per game. The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (3.73) and steals (8.27). They are 22nd in the nation in turnovers forced (17.6) per game.  


Sherburne has passed four players on UMBC's all-time scoring list this season and sits in 12th place with 1,244 points. He is 20th among all active Division I players in three-point field goals made.  He now has 228, moving into sixth place on UMBC's all-time list. He is also tied for 20th among active players with 111 games played and moved into UMBC's all-time top ten (fifth) with 3,416 minutes played. 


UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 65.5 points per game. The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (3.73) and steals (8.27). They are 22nd in the nation in turnovers forced (17.6) per game.  


A Glance at the Eagles: Florida Gulf Coast University is one of the youngest schools in the nation (1997), and much like UMBC, made history on the nation stage in men's basketball. 


In their second year of NCAA Division I membership, the Eagles won the ASUN Tournament, and, as the 15th seed in the South Region, scored one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, defeating second-seeded Georgetown 78–68 . Two days later, they defeated seventh seeded San Diego State to become the first #15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.


FGCU has also reached the Big Dance in 2016 and 2017.


This season, the Eagles snapped a six-game slide against a rigorous schedule with a 96-76 win at Oral Roberts on Dec. 5. FGCU shot 60 percent from the floor in the game. Guard Schadrac Casimir was brilliant, hitting 7-of-8 shots from behind the arc in a 24-point effort.


Casimir averages 12.0 points per game, behind only Haanif Cheatham, who checks in at 13.2. FGCU scores 74.0 points per game, but allows 79.6 and Eagle foes are shooting 48.4 percent from the floor to date. 


Eagles Galore: FGCU is the fourth team with the Eagle mascot that UMBC has competed against through 12 games this season. They are 1-2 in previous games, falling vs. Marquette (Golden Eagles) and American and defeating Coppin State. 


All-Time Series: This will be the first meeting between UMBC and FGCU.

The Retrievers have faced other current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, including Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Liberty and NJIT.


Coach Odom is 2-0 vs. ASUN teams, with wins over KSU and Liberty in his first season at the helm.   


Up Next: After finishing final exams early next week, UMBC completes the three-game homestand by welcoming Hood (Md.) College to the UMBC Event Center on Friday, Dec. 21. Early tip-off time is slated for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by ESPN3.