Men's Basketball Opens 2009 at Home against Chattanooga
The game is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., game two of a men’s and women’s doubleheader.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of practice time and probably not enough game time,” said head coach Jeff Price. “It’s a big game for us - we’re 1-0 in the league - and we’ve got a chance to get some momentum by going 2-0. We’re in the league season now and the games become a lot more important.”
GSU comes into the contest having lost three straight, but battled Florida down to the wire on Dec. 22. The Eagles closed to within three points with 39 seconds left after being down 19 in the second half.
“I hope so,” said Price when asked if he thought the second-half performance could carry over into Saturday. “That’s what you want to see. I wish we had a little more game experience to see how we look but you hope the second half has some carry-over.”
Chattanooga has won two straight and is 4-3 in its last seven outings after starting the season 0-5. Of those five losses, four were to major conference opponents either on the road or on a neutral floor.
“They played Davidson to five at Davidson and beat a 10-2 Niagara team pretty handily the other night. They’re the unanimous pick to win the North Division. They’re a good team.”
The Mocs lost their SoCon opener 100-95 at Davidson, despite leading by four at halftime and receiving 31 points from Stephen McDowell.
McDowell is second in the conference in scoring (20.8 ppg) and first in 3-pointers per contest (4.6). He set a new career high with 38 points and tied the school mark with nine 3s Tuesday night against Niagara. He averaged 14.5 points in two games against Georgia Southern last season.
“He’s one of the best players in the league and one of the best shooters in the country,” said Price. “You can’t give him any space and he’s one of the few players in the league that can take a game over by himself.”
Teaming up with McDowell to give Chattanooga a strong inside-outside presence is Nicchaeus Doaks who is third in the league in rebounding at 9.6 per game. He had 18 points and 17 rebounds Tuesday, notching a new personal best on the boards.
“He’s an all-conference player that has experience - he’s been in their program for four years - and knows how to play and is good in and out.”
While rebounding has been a weakness of this Georgia Southern team in 2008-09, the Eagles grabbed 18 offensive boards at Florida for 21 second-chance points. GSU ranks 11th in the league in rebounding margin (-5.1) compared to UTC who ranks fifth (+0.8).
“Chattanooga is bigger than us and they’re a really good rebounding team, but we’ve worked so hard over the last two weeks on our rebounding and I thought it really showed against Florida,” said Price. “We’ve continued to stay on it so hopefully we’ll see more of that Saturday.”
The Eagles had five players record double-figure points in their last game, led by Antonio Hanson’s 16 and Julian Allen’s 14. For Allen it was his seven double-figure game in nine outings and he leads the team shooting 53.0% from the floor. Powers is averaging 17.3 points in his last three games.
“We were so well-balanced against Florida. Willie Powers and Julian Allen have been our two steadiest players and they have to provide good leadership. We’ve had other guys step up in different situations. Sandy Perry stepped up against Florida, Antonio Hanson has stepped up in some games... I don’t know who will step up but it’s important that those two guys remain steady.”
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Friday, 02 January 2009 00:04