Men's Basketball Returns to Hanner Friday
STATESBORO, Ga. - After the Thanksgiving leftovers are re-configured into tasty new meals, Georgia Southern fans can get their fill of men's basketball action at Hanner Fieldhouse. The Legends Classic features doubleheaders Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-29 with Troy, Arkansas-Fort Smith and Valparaiso filling out the weekend's competition. The first game tips off Friday at 5 p.m. with a Troy-Arkansas-Fort Smith matchup followed by Valparaiso-Georgia Southern at 7:30 p.m. Opponents switch up for the next two days with Troy and Valparaiso at 3 p.m. Saturday and Arkansas-Fort Smith as the 5:30 p.m. game Saturday. On Sunday, Valparaiso and Arkansas-Fort Smith play the 1 p.m. game with Troy and Georgia Southern at 3:30 p.m.
"This is a tremendous challenge in front of us," said Eagles Men's Basketball Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We are bringing in two of the top mid-major programs in the country as well as an up-and-coming Division II program - all coached by veteran, proven coaches. We'll see teams that will be in contention for the NCAAs at the end of the year in Valparaiso and Troy, and a program in Arkansas-Fort Smith that has a history of winning and is in the process of carving out its future. If I wasn't going to be coaching on the sidelines, I'd want to be a fan this weekend."
Tickets for adults are $8 each with youth tickets (ages 3-12) priced at $4 each. Tickets are good for admission to both games each day. Five-game ticket flex plans, at $25 each, allows fans to use the five tickets for any games or to bring five fans to a single game. The flex plan tickets are general admission and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For $40, a general admission season ticket provides fans with a pass to all home games, including the six games of the Legends Classic. The Athletics Ticket windows at Hanner Fieldhouse will open one hour prior to tipoff of the first game each day.
After three tough games on the road, the Eagles (1-3) are ready to land at home. Five different individuals have led Georgia Southern in scoring this year with two sharing the honors in the season opener. Senior shooting guard Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) was the leading scorer against Jacksonville State last weekend with 18 points, going 7-11 from the field and hitting three three-point baskets in the second half. Hanson is averaging 12.3 ppg, good for 13th in the Southern Conference individual standings so far this season. He is only 18 treys away from breaking into the Georgia Southern top-10 career list. Junior guard Willie Powers III, who is right behind Hanson in the SoCon scoring list at 11.5 ppg (14th) is distributing 4.8 assists per game, fifth in the current league standings.
Newcomer Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) is third on the Eagles chart and 17th in the conference with an 11.3 ppg average. Leading the SoCon in rebounding average (9.0) is freshman forward Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) who had three straight double-figuring rebounding games to open the season. Junior guard Johntavious Rucker (Decatur, Ga.) had seven rebounds against Jacksonville State and is averaging 6.5 boards per game. Spencer is third with 6.0 rpg.
Georgia Southern and Valparaiso (1-3) meet for the first time ever on Friday. The Crusaders opened the 2009-10 season playing their first eight of nine games on the road with a home win over Indiana-South Bend (78-56) and road losses to Ball State (78-88), North Carolina (77-88, ranked sixth/fourth at the time) and No. 2 Michigan State Sunday (Nov. 22), falling 60-90.
In the first two games of the season, redshirt-sophomore guard Brandon Wood tallied 25 points against Ball State with redshirt-junior forward Cory Johnson adding 21 in that contest. Wood (30 points) and fifth-year senior Brandon McPherson (20 points) accounted for 65 percent of the offense in the North Carolina loss. Wood is averaging 22.8 points with McPherson at 16.3 ppg. Johnson, the top rebounder with 7.0 per game, is third in scoring at 15.0 ppg.
Arkansas-Fort Smith (1-2) earned provisional Division II status earlier this season, bringing success with two NJCAA titles (1981 and 2006) and 13 NJCAA tournament appearances to the next level. With the move up, the Lions welcomed five junior college transfers and one Division I transfer to the program along with two returning redshirt freshmen to fill out its roster. Four Lions are averaging double figures in points with a pair of junior forwards, Josh Simmons and Chris Williams, leading the team in scoring and rebounding.
Simmons, a transfer from Colorado State, is averaging 21.3 points per game and hitting 55.3 percent from the field. He also leads the team with seven three-pointers. Williams is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 ppg, but is averaging in double figures in boards at 10.3 rpg. Arkansas-Fort Smith defeated University of the Ozarks at home (87-65), but has lost its last two on the road to UMass (68-94) and Southwestern Oklahoma (66-73). This is the first meeting between Georgia Southern and Arkansas-Fort Smith.
With a 2-2 record on the young season, Troy has lost two straight on the road to Florida 58-80, and UAB, 59-77. Three senior guards rank as three of the top scorers for the Trojans. Leading scorer senior guard Brandon Hazzard (14.0 ppg) was 0-8 from the field and had only three free throws against UAB, but Richard Delk (14.0 ppg) was the top scorer against both Florida (15) and UAB (23). Michael Vogler has 13.0 points per game and 5.0 assists per game. Center Yamene Coleman is the fourth starter in double-figure scoring at 11.0 ppg.
Troy and Georgia Southern last met during Dec. 9, 1991, when the Eagles defeated the Trojans 102-94 in Statesboro. Coincidentally, the Legends Classic is the first tournament at Hanner Fieldhouse since the Trans America Athletic Conference championship was held in the facility at the end of the 1991-92 season.
Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-29, 2009
5 p.m. Troy vs. Arkansas-Fort Smith
7:30 p.m. Valparaiso at Georgia Southern
3 p.m. Valparaiso vs. Troy
5:30 p.m. Arkansas-Fort Smith at Georgia Southern
1 p.m. Arkansas-Fort Smith vs. Valparaiso
3:30 p.m. Troy at Georgia Southern
Athletics Ticket windows open one hour prior to the start of the first game. Hanner Fieldhouse is located at the corner of Ga. Hwy. 67 (Fair Road) and Herty Drive.
Coach: Josh Newman (4th year)
What to expect: Roster filled with newcomers for new D-II program
Who to watch: Colorado State transfer #5 Josh Simmons (6-4, Jr, F, 21.3 ppg),
Junior transfer #42 Chris Williams (6-5, Jr., F, 10.3 rpg)
Coach: Charlton "C.Y." Young (1st year)
What to expect: Blue-collar defense, Eagles flocking to the boards, fast-paced but organized offense
Who to watch: An animated Coach Young on the sidelines
Coach: Don Maestri (29th year)
What to expect: Maestri has perfected the match-up zone defense
Who to watch: Senior guards #14 Brandon Hazzard (14.0 ppg) and #33 Richard Delk (14.0 ppg)
Coach: Homer Drew (21st year)
What to expect: Pure basketball with five-man motion
Who to watch: #32 Brandon Wood (22.8 ppg);
#10 Brandon McPherson (16.3 ppg), 57% made on three-pointers
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 15:14