Welcome to D1, Southwest Florida

In their first home game as an NCAA Division One squad, the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team played Drexel evenly for 36 minutes. Unfortunately, the other four minutes of action saw a 44-43 FGCU lead turn into a 65-47 deficit. The final score, 77-58, wasn’t exactly close, but it was certainly much better than the 73-37 drubbing Drexel gave then-Division II FGCU last year.

FGCU senior Rob Quaintance looks to pass the ball against Drexel Tuesday night
From the Naples Daily News story:

That game was won in three minutes,” said FGCU forward Landon Adler.“We were tied, (then) a minute and a half later, we’re down 10. Maybe another minute later, we’re down 15, and that was the ballgame. We let our guard down just for that little bit, and you can see what can happen in that short amount of time.”

At worst, it appears that Florida Gulf Coast University is headed for a respectable debut season in Division I. At best…who knows? Naples has long been at least a couple hours from big-time pro and college sports. Could FGCU eventually fill the gap as powerhouse sports school? If the program’s growth rate of the last few years indicates what is to come, then…yes. Maybe.

One thing is for sure: if you’re not living here during the season, you simply can’t be part of the excitement.