Florida Gulf Coast thrives without history

NCAA tournament upset of Georgetown brings exposure to tiny FGCU

There’s not a whole lot of pressure on a team that most fans watching, either at home or at Wells Fargo Center, didn’t know much about before this week. Fieler, a West Virginia native, said a lot of people in his life didn’t know where he was going when he signed on to play for FGCU.

“I’m from Orlando, so even being from Florida, a lot of the people that I’m close to, they didn’t even know where Florida Gulf Coast was or they never heard of it,” Brown said.

Redshirt senior forward Eddie Murray is from North Fort Myers, so he knew a little bit more.

“I kind of got to see the school come from. … I got to see it grow as I was going through high school and then I was recruited there,” said Murray, who saw quite the scenery there. “Personally I’ve seen everything from wild boar, bobcats [to] alligators.”

Wild boar, bobcats and alligators aren’t synonymous with basketball success, but neither is the Atlantic Sun Conference. FGCU became just the fifth A-Sun team to win an NCAA tournament game.

Playing without expectations, the Eagles were loose Friday night against Georgetown. Brown wasn’t afraid to interact with the crowd, staring down the Hoyas fan section after hitting a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 13.

“I just tried to get my team really going whenever I play because I feel like you can get one player to just get everyone involved and to get everyone’s momentum going, then I feel like you can do anything,” Brown said. “That’s what I was really trying to do, I was just trying to get my team going.”

That wasn’t an issue, even when FGCU’s lead slipped to four points. The intensity never dropped, and the Eagles moved on to face San Diego State on Sunday with a chance to advance to the Sweet 16.

“It’s very exciting to be in the position that we’re in right now,” guard Bernard Thompson said. “We worked really, really hard to be where we’re at. No one has given us anything. It just means that much more that we actually had to go out there and earn it and take what we felt was ours.”

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