Preview: Florida Gulf Coast at San Diego State
Florida Gulf Coast became the talk of the NCAA Tournament with its stunning 78-68 upset of Georgetown on Friday and will seek the program's second tournament win when it meets San Diego State in the South Region quarterfinals in Philadelphia on Sunday. While the seventh-seeded Aztecs are trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons, the Eagles will try to become the first No. 15 to get there. The previous six No. 15 seeds lost by a combined 90 points in the Round of 32.
Two very different dunks summarized their wins Friday. Eagles junior forward Chase Fieler went high in the air for a one-handed dunk on a fast-break alley-oop from sophomore guard Brett Comer to stop the Hoyas' late run. The Aztecs had everything working for them as they pulled away from Oklahoma late, including junior guard Jamaal Franklin's attempted reverse dunk that bounced on the rim three times before falling through.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS
ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST (25-10): Senior guard Sherwood Brown, who leads the team with 15.3 points and 6.4 rebounds, was vaulted to celebrity status after scoring 24 points in Friday's win. Brown was seen signing autographs and posing with fans in Philadelphia while the San Diego State-Oklahoma game was being played. Comer finished with 12 points and 10 assists - including three alley-oop passes during a 21-2 run - while turning the ball over just twice. The Eagles use a tough defense to spark its transition offense. "In the second half, we pushed the ball, we got out, we ran, we made shots, got some alley-oop dunks to energize the crowd," coach Andy Enfield told the media. "I'm very proud of our players."
ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (23-10): Franklin, who leads the Aztecs with 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, has scored in double figures 30 times in 32 games, including a 21-point performance in the 70-55 win over Oklahoma. Senior guard Chase Tapley, the first player in school history to appear in four NCAA Tournaments, became the fourth Aztec to pass 1,500 career points. San Diego State is 19-3 when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting, the latest win coming against Oklahoma (39.7). Coach Steve Fisher was pleased with is team's second-half defense as the Aztecs pulled away from the Sooners. "We have a little bit of an MO where our second-half defense doesn't match our first half, and (Friday) our second-half defense was superior to our first half and that's how we won," he said.
Florida Gulf Coast has won six straight and has not trailed in the second half of its last four games.
Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between the teams.
San Diego State is 3-8 at the NCAA Tournament while the Eagles are the only team in tournament history to have a 1-0 record.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 68, Florida Gulf Coast 66