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Sunday, March 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Florida GC 81, SDSU 71

By Dana O'Neil


PHILADELPHIA -- A quick look at Florida Gulf Coast's 81-71 win over San Diego State on Sunday.

Overview: Not too long ago San Diego State was a sort of Cinderella. Back in 2002, Steve Fisher led the Aztecs to their first NCAA tournament game in 17 years, and just two seasons ago, SDSU signaled its arrival with a Sweet 16 bid.

But there are Cinderellas and then there is Florida Gulf Coast, as improbable a story as you might ever see in college basketball. The university only admitted its first student 16 years ago, only transitioned into Division I two seasons ago.

And yet the Eagles, a team that finished second in the Atlantic Sun, is now the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16.

FGCU is now officially America’s team, but the Eagles are no fluke. They are talented, with high-flying, energy-soaring ability and a confidence that belies their severely low-major status.

San Diego State was in a game … and then all of a sudden, it wasn’t. The Aztecs got run over much like Georgetown did on Friday, and by the time they looked up it was too late.

FGCU was packing for Dallas.

Turning point: Taking a page out of its opening-game handbook, FGCU busted loose at the start of the second half. The Eagles found their gas pedal and their style of play, using a 10-2 run -- many off turnovers and fast-break points -- to take the game out of the Aztecs' hands.

Key player: Brett Comer. The point guard who is equal parts savvy and daring completely controlled the tempo and the game for the Eagles. A game after dishing out 10 assists to two turnovers against Georgetown, the sophomore handed out 14 with just three miscues. His passes were simple at times and oh-my-goodness amazing at others. And the 14 doesn't do what he did to the game justice. It was dynamic and overwhelming.

Key stat: San Diego State committed 16 turnovers and that's a killer against a team that feasts off points in transition. The mistakes led to countless runouts and easy buckets for Florida Gulf Coast.

Next: Florida Gulf Coast will play Florida in the Sweet 16 in Dallas. Big brother, little brother and all that.