Men's Basketball Opens Season against Houston in Durham
The 2008-09 men’s basketball season is here and Georgia Southern will have their hands full when they take on Houston Monday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The battle with the Cougars is the first NCAA Division I game of the season and is part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The game will start at 4 p.m.
“I think everyone is excited to see a different opponent and see where we’re at,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “We want to get started and get an in-season feel instead of the three-week grind in practice.”
Duke and Presbyterian will face off in the second game of the doubleheader Monday night at 7 p.m. The winners will play at 9 p.m. on ESPNU while the losers play at 6 p.m.
Houston is coming off a 24-10 season that saw them advance to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational. UH went 11-5 in Conference USA, good for third place behind national runner-up Memphis and UAB, but only return one starter.
“They’re a really athletic, aggressive, high-pressure team,” said Price. “They pressure you on both ends of the floor, both offensively and defensively and we’re going to have to take care of the ball.”
As far as the biggest key to Georgia Southern winning, Price said, “We need to keep our turnovers down and find a way to keep them off the glass.”
One of the Eagles’ two returning starters is sophomore Willie Powers. Powers is the team’s top returning scorer and was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team after averaging 11.5 ppg. While he shared the load amongst three seniors last year, his role and production will need to increase.
“I want to see him not try to do too much,” said Price. “He’s still just a sophomore, even though he’s coming off a good freshman year. I want to see him let the game come to him and not try to do too much. Obviously we need his leadership and experience. My biggest concern with him is trying to do too much he needs to just get in the flow and let the game come to him.”
Of GSU’s six newcomers, the three junior college transfers Antonio Hanson, Sandy Perry and Tyler Troupe will jump right into the action. Hanson provides an excellent outside shot while Perry and Troupe will be filling huge holes on the frontline due to the graduation of Louis Graham and Matthew Fields.
“I think Antonio Hanson has to (step in and play) and Sandy Perry and Tyler Troupe as well,” said Price. “Those three guys were brought in to have an immediate impact and all three need to do just that.”
Both of Georgia Southern’s possible second-day opponents provide their own challenges.
“Obviously Duke has a large majority of their team back and is one of the top teams in the nation,” said Price. “You don’t have to say a whole lot more on them. Presbyterian is a team, if we play, that’s a big concern. They played 20-some road games against high-major schools and were in just about every game. Regardless of their record, they have a lot of players back and will be really hard to play against.”
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 10 November 2008 00:01