Eagles' Season Ends at SoCon Tournament
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Georgia Southern had four players score in double-figures but could not close the gap in the second half, falling 86-75 to Appalachian State in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament. The Eagles close out the season 8-22 overall.
Down by as many as 13 in the second half, Tyler Troupe (Gallatin, TN/Iowa Western CC) and Anthony Marshall (Lake Worth, FL/Lake Worth) hit back-to-back baskets cutting it to nine. Donald Sims made a 3-pointer making it 66-55 with just under 10 minutes remaining before Antonio Hanson (Fort Worth, TX/Independence CC) hit two free throws then followed with a 3’, now 66-60.
Josh Hunter made 1-of-2 free throws extending Appalachian State’s (13-17) lead to seven. The Eagles missed on a 3-pointer and would get no closer. ASU made 11 of its final 16 free throw attempts in the final two minutes to hold off the Eagles’ comeback attempt.
“I thought we fought very hard. It has been a very tough year and our kids really battled which is the best we can ask them to do. I thought we really worked hard. We couldn’t get over the hump,” said head coach Jeff Price. “The game changed in the second half, both of us played a lot more zone. We had trouble attacking their zone and they had trouble attacking ours. They just made some shots when they had to. We had some opportunities to cut it to 4-5 late in the game but missed some wide open shots. I thought we held our own on the boards pretty good and our effort was good. We’re undermanned right now and I thought our guys fought hard, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Sandy Perry (Perth Amboy, N.J./Barton County) got the Eagles started hitting a jumper in the lane. However, the Mountaineers would take the lead and go ahead by as many as eight when the Eagles went through a five minute scoring drought in the first half.
Hanson hit a 3’ to end the drought, the first of two he made over the final 11 minutes. Colby Wohlleb (Boca Raton, FL/Boca Raton) also hit a pair of 3s over the final five minutes as the Eagles trailed 47-44 heading into the locker room.
Georgia Southern shot an impressive and balanced 54.5 percent in the first half (18-of-33) as six of the nine Eagles scored at least four points. Troupe led the way with 11 points. However, Appy made 20-of-29 field goals (69 percent), including 6-of-10 from 3-point range, and held a 16-9 edge on the glass.
The 44 points in the first half were the most by the Eagles since scoring 47 in their last appearance in McKenzie Arena on January 31st (47-46 halftime lead vs. Chattanooga).
Both teams cooled off in the second half as the Eagles finished 43.3 percent from the field (9-of-30 from 3-point range) and 8-of-10 at the free throw line. ASU connected on 53.7 percent overall (10-of-23 from beyond the arc) and was 18-of-27 from the free throw line.
Price was disappointed in the defensive effort but is encouraged to have the returning nucleus coming back.
“Our best way to play is the way we know how to play and we really struggled when we walked the ball up the floor. So we said this game let’s just push it and play. You saw how we’re used to playing offensively, but we needed to defend better. Again I was glad to see an offensive output like that and a lot of that came from guys that are coming back next year,” said Price. “I told our guys our program is not accustomed to this, nor am I as head coach accustomed to the season we had. I don’t think I have ever been as motivated or as excited to get back out on the court because we will be back.”
Troupe scored a team-high 20 points, the third time this year he scored 20 or more. The junior forward added eight rebounds and three assists.
Ben Drayton III (St. Marys/Camden County) scored 15 points, the 12th straight game he scored in double-figures. He grabbed seven rebounds with five assists and three steals in 39 minutes. Hanson finished with 14 points and Wohlleb hit the game’s final basket to tally 11.
Jeremi Booth led the Mountaineers with 21 points, one of four that finished in double-figures.
GAME NOTES: Drayton set a Georgia Southern freshman record when he hit 2-of-2 free throw attempts with 1:51 left in the first half. He made his 70th and 71st free throw, moving past Kevin Anderson (1975-76) and Stanley Brewer (1976-77) who shared the record with 70... Georgia Southern will lose seniors Kenith Ward (Warner Robins/Northside) and Marshall. Marshall finished with six points and six rebounds while Ward grabbed two rebounds... Drayton finished the year 43-of-88 from 3-point range, good for 48.9 percent. That set a GS freshman and single-season percentage record.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Friday, 06 March 2009 00:20