In the first game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (21-13) cruised to a 96-65 win over fellow 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson (18-15) on Tuesday night.
The Eagles started off hot with an alley-oop slam by Demetris Morant, fed by redshirt freshman point guard Zach Johnson, which put FGCU ahead just 15 seconds into the match up to remind fans of the revival of the Dunk City team of FGCU a couple of seasons back.
March is here and Dunk City is back! https://t.co/gbb0SdTVYL
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2016
The Eagles got off to a good start and crushed the Knights lineup in the paint to establish a double-digit lead. FGCU extended it to 21 points at the half and never allowed Farleigh Dickinson to pull ahead.
Marc-Eddy Norelia led FCGU with his 15th double-double of the year, totaling a game-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Christian Terrell added 14 points, and Demetris Morant chipped in 10 points.
Terrell says they went into the game focused and prepared.
The Eagles led 40-19 at the half, as a result of a 27 to 17 advantage rebounding and 24 to six edge scoring in the paint.
FGCU head coach Joe Dooley says the team did not give up and played with confidence both offensively and defensively.
Fairleigh Dickinson used full court pressure and three point shooting, combined with careless play by the Eagles to briefly make for a few tense moments in the second half, but the Eagles offense was unstoppable as they shot a season best 59.6 percent from the field to set a record for the largest winning margin in First Four history.
The Knights went on to shoot 32.9 percent from the field, as Earl Potts Jr. led with 16 points while Marques Townes added 13 and Darian Anderson netted 11.
Florida Gulf Coast secured a spot in the round of 64 to face top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday.