Eagles Win First on Road Over Samford
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Georgia Southern won its first road game of the 2009-10 season and first in 23 attempts, defeating Samford, 83-77, at the Pete Hanna Center. The victory, the second in three games for the Eagles, was sparked by senior guard Antonio Hanson's (Ft. Worth, Texas) career-best 27 points. Hanson was 9-17 from the field, including a career-best seven three-point baskets, and had 17 in the first half. Junior guard Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded his first career double-double with a career-best 11 assists and 12 points for his 10th straight double-figure scoring game. All five Eagle starters scored in double figures.
Along with his game-leading eight rebounds, junior Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) picked up four blocks to claim Georgia Southern's single-season blocks record with 60 so far this year, replacing Louis Graham's mark of 57 set during the 2005-06 season. Spencer ties Hamp Jones (1996-2000) for sixth on the Eagles career blocks list with his total.
"Our heartbeat as a team is beating strong," said Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We are going the right direction at the right time. We are resilient and we have championship people in our locker room. We have been scrapping, we have been working, and we are staying tough as a basketball family down the stretch. That's hard to do when you have faced the adversity we have."
Georgia Southern held a double-digit lead for the beginning of the second half, then the Bulldogs chipped away at the lead with Bryan Friday hitting a jumper and Jeremy Merritt picking up a steal and hitting a three, 52-47, GSU. Andy King added a layup, 52-49, Eagles, before a Powers jumper gave Georgia Southern its first basket in nearly three minutes at 14:20 for a 54-49 lead.
The next possessions for the Eagles didn't return any points while John Peterson scored a layup to keep the Bulldogs close, 54-51. Hanson would score eight of the Eagles' next 15 points while Spencer and Powers added field goals and Wohlleb added a trey to give GSU its largest lead of the second half, 11, 69-58, with 7:22 to play.
Still refusing to lay down, Samford pulled within six, and then Merritt hit two free throws and followed with a layup and "and one" to keep it interesting with a four-point game, 76-72, with 1:39 remaining. Ben Drayton III (St. Mary's, Ga.) hit a three, answered by a Merritt three, 79-75, Eagles now with only 41 seconds left. Samford sent Powers to the line to add two points, then Josh Davis and Trey Montgomery hit a free throw each to close the scoring for the Bulldogs before putting Hanson at the line. Hanson hit two foul shots for points 26 and 27 of the night, his career-high total, and the put the final 83-77 score in the book in favor of Georgia Southern.
The Eagles had a season-high 15 three-point baskets with 11 coming in the first half off 55 percent shooting from behind the arc. Georgia Southern had the advantage on the boards 16-12 at the half and finished 30-27 with an 11-9 edge on the offensive glass for the game.
Samford hit the first basket of the game at 19:15 for its only lead of the entire night. Georgia Southern started out with three missed shots before Spencer pulled up for a jumper to tie the score at two. The Eagles would hit six of their next eight shots with Hanson hitting two straight treys and Drayton accounting for five points. Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) hit a jumper from the left elbow and then converted the foul shot to help GSU to a 24-15 lead at the 12:04 mark.
The Bulldogs would charge to get themselves back within four points of the Eagles as Andy King hit a layup, Davis added a free throw and Montgomery had a layup, 24-20, GSU. Georgia Southern rattled off an 11-2 run and built its largest lead of the game at 13, 35-22, as Drayton hit a jumper and then a three followed by back-to-back treys by Wohlleb. Hanson hit a jumper to put the Eagles up 37-24 with just under six minutes left in the half.
In nearly three minutes, the Eagles would fail to score while Samford added 10 points, four points from the line and critical threes from Davis and Merritt to trim the GSU lead to 37-34, the narrowest margin since the 14:38 point in the half. Samford wouldn't score another basket in the half while Georgia Southern hit three straight treys, two by Hanson and one by Wohlleb to push the lead back up to a dozen. Kaylin Johnson added two free throws for Samford, but the Eagles took a 46-36 lead into the locker room.
"Now that we have won this one on the road, we'll get some confidence. We have a chance to be one of the hottest teams going into the conference tournament and I believe in my heart that we are a team that no one wants to play."
Hanson led all scorers with 27 points and Wohlleb had all 15 of his points from three-pointers. Drayton had 14 for his third-straight double-figure scoring game and Spencer and Powers each had 12. Baskerville had five rebounds, an assist and a steal to go along with his three points.
The Eagles, 8-21, 5-11 SoCon, return to Hanner Fieldhouse and welcome Elon for the final home game of the 2009-10 season. Georgia Southern will honor its six seniors: Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas), Krzysztof Janiszewski (Dzierzoniow, Poland), Antoine Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) Sandy Perry (Perth Amboy, N.J.), Blake Thompson (Cartersville, Ga.) and Tyler Troupe (Gallatin, Tenn.) prior to the start of the game. Georgia Southern Athletics is also recognizing the student body for its support of the program with "Student Appreciation Night" on Thursday with a variety of promotions and the opportunity for two student groups two win $500. One of the two student group winners will be affiliated with Greek Life.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 22 February 2010 21:22