Both Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate put their bodies on the line Thursday night; Brett Comer was no exception. The junior guard fell to the floor, dripping with blood, after battling for an offensive board late in the game.
Sometimes you have to give up your nose if you want to win, something that the Eagles did over USC Upstate, 63-60 to get to 5-1 in the Atlantic Sun.
Prior to the contest, the Spartans had put emphasis on negating the Eagles' point guard’s play.
"That was something we worked on – take away passes from him, make it more difficult for him to find people," said USC Upstate coach Eddie Payne.
While Comer was held without an assist, the Eagles found other ways to beat Payne’s squad. Bernard Thompson's 17 points gave the Eagles a huge boost when the Spartans had opened a ten-point lead, and were close to pulling away.
The opening of the Spartan's big lead was courtesy of Ty Greene. The gunner traded threes with Thompson and put USC Upstate in the lead position.
But beginning in the 2nd half, FGCU brought a good deal more intensity on the defensive end. The Eagles held USC Upstate to 25 points after the break, just enough to climb back into it.
"In the first half, we let Greene and Craig get going...Dajuan Graf was spectacular on defense. He was a major bonus to us," Eagles coach Joe Dooley said.
Torrey Craig, arguably the Atlantic Sun's best player, put up 12 points and had nine rebounds in front of a scout from the Denver Nuggets.
The pivotal moment for Florida Gulf Coast came with about seven minutes left in the game. Eric McKnight pinned a Jodd Maxey layup against the backboard, and Chase Fieler finished up a Comer miss on the other end.
The Eagles stay at home to battle ETSU on Saturday while USC Upstate heads to DeLand for a weekend matchup against Stetson.
FGCU's early diagnosis for Brett Comer is a broken nose but more will be known tomorrow.