Hewitt's Buzzer Beater Gives Eagles 75-72 Win Over UTC
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. - Sophomore Jelani Hewitt (Miramar, Fla.) knocked down a three-pointer as time expired as Georgia Southern Men's Basketball took a 75-72 win over Chattanooga at the McKenzie Arena on Saturday night. The win moves the Eagles to 9-12 overall and 7-4 in conference play, a game and a half game behind Wofford for second place in the SoCon South. Chattanooga falls to 9-14 and 3-7 in league play.
"Our guys really fought tonight to erase Chattanooga's second half lead and take this big road win," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "I told our guys to get the first available shot when we got the ball back and Jelani did a great job of knocking it down. Even though we didn't play with poise early, our team scrapped and played with poise in the final eight minutes. That's what got us the win tonight."
Hewitt finished the night with 16 points after going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Senior (St. Marys, Ga.) also scored 16 points, but added three assists, draining a pair of three-pointers of his own. (Gainesville, Fla.) asserted his position as top-assist man with seven assists including the game-winning shot. He also had six rebounds and 11 points.
(Statesboro, Ga.) scored 15 points to close out the Eagle quartet in double figures. Ferguson also led the team with seven rebounds and blocked two shots. (Lithia Springs, Ga.) scored seven with two steals in 13 minutes of work. (Miami, Fla.) had a big night, scoring six points on 3-for-4 shooting and six rebounds.
Chattanooga's Drazen Zlovaric and Keegen Bell scored 16 points each. Zlovaric also pulled 10 rebounds to earn the double-double. Bell, the league's leading assist man finished with five, two off his season average.
Chattanooga led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Eagles trailed by just 10 points at the intermission. The Mocs scored 20 of their 36 points in the paint to take a 36-26 advantage into the locker room at the break.
Hewitt opened the second half by draining a three pointer from the top of the arc in the first possession while Powers fed Baynham for a flush on the next trip. Approaching the first media timeout of the second half the Eagles had cut the lead to four points.
The Mocs, however, would come out of the timeout on a tear, extending the lead back to 16 points at the 12:03 mark. Chattanooga improved from the perimeter, making all three second half three-pointers as a part of the 15-4 run.
With many of the Mocs starters on the bench in the middle portions of the half, Georgia Southern cut the lead back to 10 points at 8:35. Free throws at the 6:55 mark by Ferguson brought the lead back to eight points as the Eagles continued to run.
Hewitt iced his third three-pointer of the game with 6:11 remaining to bring the Eagles within five points at 64-59 as Chattanooga continued to turn the ball over to the Georgia Southern defense. The lead came to three points as Powers cleaned the offensive glass and scored a deuce off a tip in.
Powers scored again just out of the under-four minute media timeout to bring GSU within one point. Ferguson gave the Eagles their first lead of the night with 2:56 remaining on his first three-pointer of the night, 70-68.
The Mocs took the lead again 72-70 with just over a minute left on a baseline drive from Ricky Taylor, but Hewitt answered seconds later with a bucket just inside the arc. Chattanooga went down the floor and missed a layup with seven seconds remaining to give the Eagles a chance at the game winner.
Powers brought the ball across the time line in traffic and slowed the pace as the seconds ticked down. He connected with Hewitt on the elbow who stepped into and released a perfectly arcing shot as time expired. The ball found nothing but net as the team spilled onto the court to celebrate the victory.
"Talk about a dream come true," said Hewitt. "It was something that I have dreamed about growing up, counting down three-two-one, and for that to actually happen, It is big. I am glad that I came through for my team."
Georgia Southern allowed just four second half turnovers while shooting 50% from the field and 42.9% from downtown in the final 20 minutes. The Mocs allowed 17 turnovers overall and 10 in the second half to give away the 16 point second half lead.
The Eagles have a week off before traveling to Western Carolina next weekend. The game in Cullowhee's Ramsey Center starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 4th.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 28 January 2012 22:55