Elon Spoils Senior Night, 72-57
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern Men's Basketball closed out the regular season with a 72-57 loss to Elon at Hanner Fieldhouse on Saturday night (February 26th). The Eagles (5-26, 1-17 SoCon) led by three points at halftime but the Phoenix shot .650 in the second half to the Eagles' .294 from the field to rally in the second half. Georgia Southern set a season-high attendance mark with 2,412 on hand for the home finale.
"We played well tonight for the first half, but when Elon made a run we weren't able to bring it to them," said Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "Not having Rory Spencer in the rotation for us tonight was a big blow. I've very proud of our walk-on Justin Taylor for stepping up and playing a great game."
Seniors Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) and Johntavious Rucker (Decatur, Ga.) were honored prior to the game for their contributions to Eagle Basketball. Spencer started the game but left the game after one possession due to an injury he suffered against UNC Greensboro.
SoCon Freshman of the Year candidate Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) shared game-high scoring with 16 points, his highest scoring output since the Wofford game (Feb. 12th). He also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Junior Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) had 13 points while making six assists.
Sophomore Zuri James (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scored 12 points on the evening, shooting 2-for-3 from downtown. Sophomore Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) had seven points going 2-for-2 from the field, 2-for-2 from the free throw line and 1-for-1 from downtown. Freshman Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) scored four points with two assists and two steals.
Freshman Justin Taylor (Newnan, Ga.) did yeoman's work, playing a career-high 20 minutes and contributing three points with four rebounds. He also tallied a steal and bested his previous career-high playing time by four minutes.
Elon's (13-16, 7-11 SoCon) Drew Spradlin shared high-scorer honors with Ferguson on 16 points as four Phoenix scored in double-figures. Lucas Troutman had 14 while Chris Long scored 12 and Ryley Beaumont scored 11 on the night. Elon finishes the regular season as the No. 4 seed in the North Division and will face The Citadel in the final of the first round games on Friday night.
Both teams shot well in the early-going as both made eight of their first 10 field goals over the first nine minutes of the game. A block by Ferguson at 8:25 moved the freshman into a tie for third place on the freshman blocked shots chart.
The Eagles led by as many as five in the first half with 1:41 left but the Phoenix cut the advantage to one point with 24 seconds remaining in the first half. Taylor hit a jumper at the horn to give the Eagles a three-point lead going into the interval. The field goal was his first since the Mississippi Valley State game (November 27th).
Georgia Southern shot a season-high .667 (14-for-21) in the first half while Elon made just two of its final 14 first-half shots to go .417 (10-for-24) from the field. The Eagles swiped six steals to log 13 total steals in the two first halves of their last games.
A free throw by Ferguson gave the Eagles a four-point lead just 34 seconds into the second half. Elon, however, went on an 11-0 run over the next 4:22 to give the visitors a 40-34 lead. The run was snapped with a pair of free throws by James.
Following a James three-pointer at 13:56, which cut the lead to four points, Elon went on an 8-0 run to go out to a 12-point lead. Lucas Troutman had scored half of the run, which ended on a layup from Drayton.
Foul trouble became an issue in the second half as three Eagles had four fouls midway through the half and Ferguson picked up his fourth. Baynham would be the first to foul out with 5:58 remaining.
After the Eagles scored a four-point play, Elon took control of the game with an 8-1 run over the next 2:58, including a pair of three-pointers. Ferguson ended the run with a three-pointer at 4:55 on his first attempt from downtown on the night. Ferguson, however, fouled out with 2:42 left in the game as Georgia Southern trailed 68-53. The Eagles produced a 7-4 run over the final 2:48 of the game to drop the final margin to 72-57.
Georgia Southern shot just .294 (5-for-17) in the final 20 minutes of the game to post a .500 (19-for-38) performance from the field. Elon was 13-for-20 (.650) in the second half and .523 (23-for-44) overall. Elon committed just three second half turnovers to aid the Phoenix rally.
Georgia Southern will play next in the 2011 Southern Conference Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Eagles open the tournament against Appalachian State on Friday, March 4th, in the second game of the day at McKenzie Arena at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Fans may follow Georgia Southern Men's Basketball by visiting GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/basketball or check in at twitter.com/GSAthletics or facebook.com/GSAthletics for short updates. Live stats and video are available at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 26 February 2011 22:54