DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and Florida Gulf Coast coasted to a 96-65 win over an overmatched Fairleigh Dickinson team in a First Four game Tuesday night.
Norelia opened the game with a dunk and the Eagles (21-13) never relinquished the lead, going on a 23-6 run in the first 10 minutes and opening a 40-19 lead at the half. Fairleigh Dickinson got some looks but couldn’t get much to fall, shooting just 33 percent from the field while playing thoroughly lackluster defense throughout.
Florida Gulf Coast wasn’t the “Dunk City” gang that made the terrific tournament run to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed three years ago, instead outmuscling its opponent’s big men inside and spreading the ball around. Julian Debose and Christian Terrell both added 14 for the Eagles, and Demetris Morant added 10. After Norelia’s opening slam, Brian Greene Jr. closed the scoring with a dunk for FGCU.
Norelia was 10 for 11 from the field while grabbing 10 rebounds. FGCU outrebounded the smaller Fairleigh Dickinson squad 52-33 while dominating on the defensive boards.
Earl Potts Jr. led Fairleigh Dickinson (18-15) with 16 points despite sitting a good chunk of the second half with four fouls. Marques Townes added 13.
Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles could have had a bigger lead at halftime, but shot 6 for 17 on free throws in the first 20 minutes.
Fairleigh Dickinson: Darian Anderson, who led the Knights in scoring this season, scored 11 points and fouled out in the second half.
The game was delayed by officials twice in the opening seconds because officials couldn’t get the game clock running properly.
Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles improved to 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
Fairleigh Dickinson: The Knights fall to 0-5 in the tournament, dating back to 1985.
Florida Gulf Coast: Plays North Carolina on Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina.