SLU set for 3-straight days of action this weekend at FGCU Invitational
Published 8:09 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021
The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team prepares for three straight games this weekend at the Hilton Garden FGCU Invitational against Purdue Fort Wayne, Florida Gulf Coast and Western Michigan.
The weekend tournament is hosted by FGCU with all games being played at Alico Arena in Fort Myers.
SLU (3-2) will take on Purdue Fort Wayne (2-1) out of the Horizon League Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT. Saturday, the Lions will face host team Florida Gulf Coast (3-2) from the Atlantic Sun Conference at 6 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend Sunday against Western Michigan (1-3) from the Mid-American Conference at 12:30 p.m.
Entering the weekend, the Lions come in boasting the Southland’s high-mark in several categories including total offense (90.8 ppg), scoring margin (+21.8), three-point field goals made (58), free throw percentage (74 percent), defensive rebounding (29.0 DRPG), assists to turnover margin (1:63) with 104 assists and just 64 turnovers. The 104 assists is also tops in the league.
Individually, the Lions are led by junior Gus Okafor. The Baltimore, Maryland native leads the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 13.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per night, which is fifth in the Southland in both categories.
Graduate transfer Jalyn Hinton has also been spectacular for SLU. Out of Boston, Massachusetts, Hinton leads the Southland in field goal percentage shooting 65 percent (25-for-38), free throw percentage (100 pct. – 13-for-13) and blocked shots (11). The Florida Southern transfer is also averaging 12.6 point and 6.4 rebounds, seventh in the league in both.
Friday’s game against Purdue Fort Wayne features a rematch of last year’s season opener in which the Mastodons edged SLU, 67-63, in overtime. The Lions were led by sophomore Nick Caldwell who scored a career-high 20 points. However, SLU couldn’t overcome a 1-for-28 shooting night from the three-point line despite forcing the Mastodons into a season-high 31 turnovers.
Saturday, the Lions will take on host FGCU as the schools meet for the first time. The Eagles are led by Tavian Dunn-Martin (5-8, 155, G) averaging 20.5 points per game, including 45 percent (15-for-33) from the three-point line. Martin led the Eagles on an 11-point second-half comeback win, 67-66, over Rhode Island Tuesday night as he scored 26 points.
Defensively, FGCU has an intimidating presence in Atlantic Sun Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Samuel (6-11, 255, F). The TCU graduate transfer leads the Eagles in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and blocked shots (9).
The Lions will finish the weekend with a matchup with Western Michigan Sunday afternoon. WMU is paced by Lamar Norman Jr., averaging 18.0 per game, including 18-for-39 (46 percent) from three-point land. Out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Norman is coming off a 30-point performance in a loss to Iowa out of the Big 10 Monday night.
Fans can watch Saturday’s game on ESPN+ with links to video, audio and stats available on the Southeastern men’s basketball schedule page at www.LionSports.net. Friday and Sunday’s games will be available to follow with live stats and live audio via LionSports.Net/ListenLive.
HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners. All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
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