By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
AHMARD Harvey and Franco Miller Jr saw their respective programmes win early season tournaments over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Harvey and his High Point Panthers defeated Tennessee State 77-72 in the finale of the SoCal Challenge Sand Division Championship in San Juan Capistrano, California.
Harvey finished with five points and a game high eight rebounds.
The 6’7” junior forward’s effort on the glass came through in critical moments, half of which came on the offensive side.
The Panthers trailed by seven midway through the first half, when Harvey’s rebound and putback ignited a run to get them back into the game.
He had another influential play in the second half, when his three pointer gave the Panthers a 55-51 lead with just under 12 minutes left to play.
Within the last two minutes, Harvey came up with two rebounds that led to fastbreak opportunities to seal the win.
Harvey is averaging 4.5 points and a team leading seven rebounds per game. He made his debut with eight points and seven rebounds followed by back to back 10 rebound performances.. HPU was picked to finish fifth overall in the preseason poll Big South Preseason poll after they finished 14-18 last season, 7-9 in the Big South.
Harvey transferred from the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers of the Sun Belt Conference, where he spent the previous three seasons of his collegiate basketball career.
Miller and the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles captured the Gulf Coast Showcase title with a 73-59 win over Kansas City in Estero, Florida.
It completed a run of three wins in three days with wins over Northern Kentucky, 82-61, and Drexel, 67-59.
“I’m proud of these guys,” said FGCU head men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers. “It’s not easy with a new coach and some new players. We came in and they just wanted to please me, please our staff and get better. That’s what we are seeing. We won these games in July, with our strength program and staff buying in from the start. I kept saying from June and all summer long ‘back-to-back-to-back’ – to get ready for it, to have the mental toughness for it. We just went out and proved we did.” .
Miller is in his third season as a member of the Eagles. Last season, he had just 15 appearances with just one start. This season he has appeared in all seven games but is just averaging 9.9 minutes per contest.
The FGCU men’s basketball team was picked fourth in the ASUN Preseason Coaches’ Poll as well as the Preseason Media Poll.