Georgia Southern Defeats Furman with Second Half Spurt
STATESBORO, Ga. - Four Eagles scored in double figures as Georgia Southern pulled out a 79-77 win at Hanner Fieldhouse Wednesday night (February 17). Junior guard Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) went 5-7 in the second half for 14 points and led GSU with 21 total. Guards Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) and Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) each had 11 points in the second period with Drayton finishing with 15.
Powers scored seven of Georgia Southern's points during a 12-2 run late in the second half with his clutch three-point basket tying the game at 67 to begin the spurt. The Eagles pulled to out to a seven-point lead off Drayton free throws and then held on for the win.
With the score knotted six times in the second half, Furman pushed out to a seven-point margin off four Paladin free throws and baskets by Brandon Sebirumbi and Amu Saaka, 56-63. GSU battled back, getting key turnovers and forcing missed shots. A three-pointer by Drayton followed by a jumper by Spencer and free throws by Hanson pulled the Eagles to within one, 64-65.
"The unsung heroes of the game were the second half starters - they supplied the energy we needed," said Eagles Head Coach Charlton Young. "The first five minutes of the second half has been a problem for us and we needed that energy, that spurt to get us going."
The second half began with Furman adding to its 34-32 halftime lead with free throws from Jordan Miller before Hanson scored five straight points with a three and a jumper to put the Eagles up by one, 37-36. Drayton picked up a steal, scored the layup and converted the three-point play to put Georgia Southern up by four, 40-36. The Paladins fired right back with Amu Saaka and Neil Duval hitting jumpers to tie the game at 40 all. GSU pulled back out to a 45-42 lead after the two teams traded turnovers and missed shots.
"We showed a lot of character in facing adversity and coming from behind to win," said Powers. "My teammates were clutch and we hit the shots down the stretch to seal the win."
A back-and-forth game for the first 10 minutes of the game, Furman held a five-point lead 23-18 and 25-20 at the 7:55 mark in the game. Eagles Powers, Drayton and Rucker hit jumpers to tie the score at 26 before Saaka hit a jumper followed by States' field goal and free throws to put the Furman lead back to six, 26-32. Powers hit a jumper in the paint and Antoine Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) scored a layup to put the Eagles down one, 31-32, with 1:27 left in the first half. Powers made the first of two free throws to tie the score again, 32-32, before Saaka scored with six seconds left for a 34-32 Furman lead.
Georgia Southern, now 7-20 and 4-10 on the year, defended Furman's Jordan Miller well with the Paladin guard going 2-10 from the field for 10 points. The Eagles allowed Furman only two three-point baskets and held the Paladins to 20 percent shooting from behind the line. Saaka was the game-high scorer with 27 and three other Paladins scored in double figures. States had the high rebound total with 10.
"I'm proud of our guys, we played well defensively and caused 20 turnovers," Young said. "Big Chris played well and contributed six minutes of good production."
Wofford, a winner over Davidson, 73-51, comes to Hanner Fieldhouse for a 2:30 p.m. date with the Eagles on Saturday. The Lady Eagles will play first at noon as the activities for Saturday's "Pack the House in Pink" doubleheader event focus on raising awareness and funds for breast cancer and life-saving research.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 22:05