Jacksonville (4-19, 2-10 A-Sun) was led by Aloys Cabell’s 13 points, his eighth straight game in double figures. The Dolphins offense was unable to overcome their mistakes, turning the ball over 21 times with the Eagles cashing them in for 22 points.
FGCU (12-11, 7-5 A-Sun) got a game-high 19 points from Bernard Thompson, who hit 7-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free throw line.
“We made too many mistakes in crucial situations that stopped our momentum,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We did a good job of crashing the boards and limiting them to just one shot on most of their possessions. We just made some timely mistakes that we couldn’t afford to make late when we were trying to get back into the game.”
Leading by eight at the half thanks to late spurt in the first half, Florida Gulf Coast scored the first seven points of the second half to build a 44-29 lead on a Chase Fieler 3-pointer with 16:52 left in the game.
Jacksonville slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting it to eight, 46-38, on a Tevin Galvin free throw with 11:114 left in regulation and eventually had the deficit down to five, 55-50, on a Jeremy Bogus 3-pointer with 3:33 left.
FGCU squelched the Dolphins rally with four straight free throws and JU’s next basket came on a Glenn Powell tip in with 1:33 left. Jacksonville was unable to mount another run as the Eagles held on for the win.
Thompson led three Eagles in double figures, with Christophe Varidel adding 12 off the bench and Sherwood Brown scoring 10 points and pulling down a team-best seven rebounds.
Florida Gulf Coast used an 11-4 spurt late in the first half to take a 37-29 lead at halftime and it would have been more if not for an Evin Graham layup at the buzzer for JU.
Delwan Graham led the Dolphins with eight rebounds as JU held a 39-28 edge in rebounding. Jacksonville struggled shooting all night, hitting just 15-of-49 (30.6 percent) from the floor.
The Dolphins face off against Stetson on Monday night at the Arena in a big matchup for JU’s hopes of making the A-Sun Tournament. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.