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Florida Gulf Coast wins A-Sun, returns to NCAA Tournament

Dunk City is back in the tournament for the second straight year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Florida Gulf Coast vs North Carolina Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, Florida Gulf Coast had the opportunity to earn an NCAA birth on their home court. And for the second straight year, that’s exactly what they did as they took down North Florida, 77-61. Last year’s championship game went down the wire, but that wasn’t the case today.

After a slow start that had the Eagles trailing by six at the half, “Dunk City” turned into “Defense City”. The Eagles locked in on the defensive side of the ball, and held their fellow birds of prey opponents to just 22 points in the second half. The stifling effort from Gulf Coast resulted in a sub-.400 shooting percentage for the Ospreys, and an abysmal 6-of-26 performance from behind the arc.

However, FGCU needed the offense to come alive too, and come alive it did. The Eagles doubled up the Ospreys in the second half with a 44-22 advantage in the scoring column. Brandon Goodwin led the charge with 19 points, and every other starter reached double figures. Ball security and ball movement keyed the Eagles’ success on the offensive end as they totaled 16 assists and just seven turnovers in the contest.

That basically sums it up, right? Wrong.

What would a Florida Gulf Coast game be without high-flying acrobatics? During their dominant second half, Rayjon Tucker put exclamation mark on Dunk City’s return to the NCAA Tournament with this emphatic slam:

With that, I think we can confidently say: DUNK CITY BACK!

Up next: Florida Gulf Coast gets to sit back and relax while the rest of the conference tournaments play out. SB Nation’s bracketologist Chris Dobbertean has the Eagles as a 14-seed in his most recent bracket, and the Bracket Matrix projects the same.