|A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Bernard Thompson|
By DANIEL SHIRLEY
Florida Gulf Coast sophomore Bernard Thompson has made a name for himself this season on the defensive end of the court.
After all, he was the A-Sun’s Defensive Player of the Year.
But he has plenty of offense as well, and showed off his all-around game Wednesday in the first round of the 2013 General Shale Atlantic Sun Basketball Championship at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena.
Thompson contributed 18 points to go along with three steals and some stellar defense on North Florida standout shooter Parker Smith as the Eagles pulled away for a 73-63 victory.
“They were keeping it close in the first half, but we came in during the second half and got our composure a little bit better and settled down,” Thompson said. “We saw that North Florida was getting its intensity up, and we came out in the second half and played a little harder and smarter.”
Thompson played hard and smart throughout the contest, and while Smith finished with 29 points, Thompson and the Eagles made him work hard to reach that number.
Thompson ranks sixth in A-Sun single-season history for steals, and he entered Wednesday’s game second in the nation.
“He’s a great shooter,” Thompson said with a laugh about Smith. “It’s hard to guard shooters like that. You never know what’s going on; they can just drive the ball or pull up and shoot on you. He has tremendous range, and you have to just about guard him from half court because he can just shoot from anywhere.
“He had a good game. It was fun, for sure.”
Thompson also had fun on offense, hitting 6-of-14 shots from the floor and 5-of-5 from the foul line. He scored all of his points in the second half after missing his four shots in the first half.
“The first half I was going too fast, I wasn’t myself,” Thompson said. “At halftime, I came in and got a little breather and got myself going. My teammates were giving me easy buckets and got me going.”
Still, Thompson said offense is the easy part. He played 30 minutes in the game and worked hard on the defensive end of the court, mostly against Smith.
“Most of our defense goes into our offense,” he said. “I get a steal, and we get into our offense and get up and down the floor. The offensive end of the floor is not that hard, but the defense is hard because you have to stop the other team from scoring, and you have to get back. That’s the hard part. Offense is much easier.”