Men's Basketball Plays Final Home Game Before Christmas Thursday
Georgia Southern’s seven-game winning streak was snapped Saturday at the hands of Florida. The 52-49 defeat ended GSU’s longest winning streak before January since 1950.
Ahead for most of the contest, Georgia Southern was unable to score in the final 3:53 and a final 3-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked.
“We showed that when we want, we can defend and rebound at a high level, and compete at a high level at times,” said head coach Jeff Price. “We showed that we have the ability to be very resilient when we get down and show we can come back and regain our focus and the lead late in the game.”
The Eagles outshot Florida 41.2%-25.5% for the contest and 46.2%-20.0% in the first half alone. GSU blocked eight shots and held the Gators to 2-for-14 shooting from 3-point territory.
“I thought our defense was excellent,” said Price. “If you ask Florida it’s because they hadn’t played in 10 days and missed a lot of easy shots. After watching tape I was pretty pleased with our defensive effort. We were really active up front, we contested and blocked a lot of shots and made a lot of shots difficult.”
Freshman Willie Powers was the only Eagle in double-figures with 17 points on eight of 15 shooting from the field. He has scored in double-figures in eight of his nine career games and leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg), field goal percentage (53.9%), 3-pointers (17) and 3-point percentage (48.6%).
Georgia Southern will try to avoid a letdown after the close loss Saturday, a game where GSU shot just 5-for-13 from the free throw line.
“It’s going to be hard to tell in this game because I have some concerns that our guys know that as soon as the game is over, we’re off (for Christmas break),” said Price. “I think we’ll bounce back fine the key thing is how we’re going to bounce back at the free throw line, because that’s where we lost the game. That can become a mental thing. I think it’ll be interesting to see how we bounce back and shoot the ball from the line.”
The 38.5% shooting night at the line was the lowest by the team since a 2-for-11 performance Jan. 10, 2007 at Chattanooga.
With the Gators behind them, the GSU turns its attention to Asbury, also nicknamed the Eagles. The NAIA Division II member comes to Statesboro with a 9-3 record and has won eight of its last nine games. The Eagles are ranked No. 25 in their national coaches’ poll.
“I think the best thing Asbury has going for them is their experience,” said Price. “They’re 9-3 and they play all upperclassmen. I don’t care what level you’re playing against or who you’re playing, when you’re playing a team that is 9-3 and plays juniors and seniors, they can be a threat. We need to not take anything for granted.”
No less than 21 players have seen action in a game for Asbury, who are led by Brett Johnson. The senior averages 19.9 points and 8.9 rebounds and earned his second straight Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week nod on Dec. 11. He put up 24 points and 13 rebounds against NAIA Division I opponent University of the Cumberlands following a 28-point, nine-rebound performance vs. Johnson Bible.
Johnson will be up against one of the SoCon’s top defenses. Georgia Southern tops the Southern Conference stat charts in four different categories including field goal percentage defense (39.0%), 3-point defense (26.9%), blocks (6.6 bpg) and steals (8.6 spg). GSU’s last two opponents are shooting just 14.3% from 3-point land and 32.5% from the floor.
Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch video, listen to the radio broadcast and follow the action via livestats on www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:03