Drayton's Career Night Not Enough For Eagles Against Wofford
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Georgia Southern junior guard Ben Drayton (St. Marys, Ga.) posted a career night with 31 points but it wasn't enough as the Eagles fell 69-61 to Wofford on Saturday (Feb. 12th) at Benjamin Johnson Arena. He scored 25 second-half points to will the Eagles back from a 19-point second-half deficit to trail by only four with 1:10 remaining.
"I'm very proud of our team for battling back through a tough start to the second half," said Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We fought hard, but the 23 turnovers and Wofford's 12-2 run early in the second half really hurt us. Wofford made the savvy, veteran plays an experienced team makes. Our team proved again tonight that it has the heart to battle back."
In addition to Drayton's big night of scoring, he added five rebounds and three steals. The guard was 11-of-16 from the field with a number of acrobatic, slashing buckets and an 8-9 performance at the free throw line. Freshman of the Year Candidate Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) also had a big night with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Senior Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) scored five points while freshman Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.) added four with six rebounds.
Georgia Southern (4-23, 0-14 SoCon) ruled the rebounding glass with a 33-23 advantage overall and an 11-6 margin on the offensive boards. The Eagles were whistled for 28 fouls to Wofford's (14-12, 11-4 SoCon) 17 as the Terriers went 23-37 (.622) at the stripe to GSU's 12-14 (.857).
In the early minutes, Georgia Southern's scoring was dominated by Ferguson and Drayton who combined for GSU's first 13 points. Ferguson had seven while Drayton scored six points.
The Eagles, however, committed two of their 12 first-half turnovers in succession, allowing Wofford to take a 18-9 lead at the 9:52 mark. The Eagles sliced the margin down to four points at 2:05 trailing 23-19. With the Terriers up by seven in the waning seconds of the first half, Wofford's Drew Crowell drained a deuce with just three seconds left to give Wofford a nine-point lead, 30-21, going into the halftime break.
The Eagles were 8-of-20 (.400) from the field to Wofford's 10-of-23 (.435) in the first half while both teams were 2-for-6 (.333) from downtown.
Out of the intermission, Wofford went on a 12-2 run to take a 42-23 lead after three minutes. Ferguson scored on an inside bank-shot and was fouled. He converted the free throw which sparked an Eagle run. Moments later, Drayton made a steal and coast-to-coast layup as the Eagles made their charge.
A pair of Drayton old-fashioned three-point plays cut Wofford's lead to 47-34 at 11:54. The Eagles committed fouls on the next two possessions, but lackluster shooting from the charity stripe by Wofford on its one-and-ones kept the lead from increasing.
Georgia Southern continued to chop away at the lead with amped-up defense and scoring on the offensive end. Ferguson sliced the advantage to nine at the five-minute mark and an open possession for Wofford allowed Baynham to drop a layup at 4:01 to cut the lead to seven. The Eagles posted a 12-2 run between the 7:38 and 4:01 marks in the game to mount the charge.
Wofford pushed the lead back to 10 at 3:07 before the Eagles came roaring back as Drayton took control of the game. He scored nine-straight Eagle points, including a three-point bomb from the corner and a clutch layup at 1:03 to cut the lead to four, 63-59. The junior missed the ensuing free throw and Wofford beat the Eagle press. Noah Dahlman got free for a layup, which drew a foul. He drained the free throw to push the lead back to seven points.
The Terriers made their late free throws and prevented Georgia Southern from springing the upset in the late moments.
Georgia Southern shot .500 (15-of-30) from the field in the second half to go .460 (23-of-50) for the game. Wofford was buoyed by a .579 (11-of-19) shooting performance in the second half from the field as the Terriers went .500 (21-of-42) overall.
The Eagles were saddled with 23 turnovers while causing 16 Wofford miscues. Despite the size disadvantage, GSU took a 30-22 lead in points in the paint and a 15-6 advantage in second-chance points.
The final game of the three-game road trip ends Wednesday night against Davidson (Feb. 16th) with a 7 p.m. contest at Belk Arena. The Eagles return home for three-straight home games starting on Saturday, Feb. 19th against The Citadel.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 12 February 2011 22:03