Florida Gulf Coast v San Diego State

FGCU’s emphatic second-half run ends San Diego State’s season

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Entering Sunday’s contest against 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast, San Diego State ranked among the best teams in the country in regards to defensive efficiency (11th per kenpom.com).

But in a 17-0 second half run the Eagles shredded the Aztec defense and the end result was an 81-71 FGCU victory, giving Andy Enfield’s program its first-ever trip to the Sweet 16. This is also the first time a 15-seed has reached the Sweet 16, with the 1997 Coppin State Eagles (82-81 loss to Texas) coming closest to achieving the feat before Sunday.

Next up for FGCU is a game against South Region 3-seed Florida on Friday at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex.

While this can be seen as a missed opportunity for Steve Fisher’s program to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years it’s important to note that FGCU was the better team on the floor.

FGCU shot 55.9% from the field and Bernard Thompson led five Eagles in double figures with 23 points. SDSU managed to hang with the Eagles for the first 30 minutes, leading 35-34 at the half, but unlike FGCU the Aztecs could not avoid that decisive cold streak on the offensive end.

Jamaal Franklin (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Chase Tapley (17) led the way for San Diego State, which shot 45.2% in the second half, but their offense was no match for the Atlantic Sun tournament champions during that 17-0 run.

For the season SDSU shot 43.8% from the field entering Sunday’s game, and against Oklahoma on Friday night the Aztecs shot 42.9%. In order to beat FGCU with a similar effort San Diego State needed to get stops, and they were unable to do so.

Entering the offseason the Aztecs have some important personnel issues to address, most importantly the graduation of both Tapley and James Rahon and Franklin’s NBA Draft prospects. However with players such as J.J. O’Brien, Winston Shepard and Xavier Thames expected to return the talent is there to contend in the Mountain West next season.

There will be disappointment in the aftermath of their loss to Florida Gulf Coast, but there’s no doubt that San Diego State ran into a better team on this night.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.