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Thompson, FGCU win A-Sun title

March 9, 2013; Macon, GA, USA; Mercer Bears forward Bud Thomas (5) goes up for a shot over Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard Bernard Thompson (2) during the championship game of the Atlantic Sun tournament at Hawkins Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

March 9, 2013; Macon, GA, USA; Mercer Bears forward Bud Thomas (5) goes up for a shot over Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard Bernard Thompson (2) during the championship game of the Atlantic Sun tournament at Hawkins Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

MACON -- Bernard Thompson and Florida Gulf Coast are going dancing. In the Atlantic Sun championship game for the second consecutive season, the No. 2 seed Eagles defeated top-seed Mercer, 88-75 Saturday to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Thompson, a sophomore guard who was named the conference's defensive player of the year and is sixth in the nation in steals per game, picked up eight steals in the three tournament games. The Rockdale graduate scored 11 points in the title game and averaged 13.6 in the tournament, which included victories over No. 7 seed North Florida in the quarterfinals and No. 3 seed Stetson in Friday's semifinals.

Gulf Coast, in just its sixth year in Division I, will go into the NCAAs, which begin March 19, at 24-10.