Eagles Triumph Over Panthers in Overtime 74-72
STATESBORO, Ga. -Two free throw shots by Ben Drayton (St. Marys, Ga.) put Georgia Southern up by two points, 74-72, with 10 seconds left in overtime and Georgia State could not get a shot off before time expired to preserve the win. Drayton and Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) combined for eight of the Eagles' 11 points in overtime as Drayton scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Ferguson led the Eagles with seven rebounds and was second behind Drayton in scoring with 17. Georgia State drops to 5-4 overall while Georgia Southern improves to 4-9 on the season.
"We've showed them in film, we clipped it, we've preached it, we've sung it, we've done everything we can to get these young guys to buy into the importance of rebounding and the light bulb is starting to come on," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young on the way the Eagles defended. "Now we're making the extra pass, guys are trying to keep people out of our paint, and we have a chance now to realize what got us this big win tonight and continue to build on it and get better."
Three ties and two lead changes in overtime ended with an Eagles two-point victory. Fueled by his late second-half effort, Ferguson would score six of the Eagles' first nine points in overtime to give Georgia Southern a 72-69 lead. A trey by Brandon McGee tied the game at 72 with 1:14 remaining. Ferguson forced a Georgia State turnover and recovered the loose ball, calling timeout while sprawled on the court.
Georgia State would have a last attempt to score, but Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.), taking a cue from Ferguson, would set his feet to take the charge. On the Eagles' possession, Georgia State would foul Drayton and send him to the line for two shots, Drayton made both.
The win breaks a Georgia State four-game winning streak against Georgia Southern and gives the Eagles their first win over the Panthers since the 1992 TAAC Championship at Hanner that advanced the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament. The victory over an in-state rival, is something Young is very proud of.
"No doubt about it, Georgia State is a rivalry I'll always be very excited about and it was good for us," said Young. "This is a game that gives us credibility in the state and we need to start flexing our muscle and let them know that we're on the rise and that we're going to be a major factor."
The Eagles were up by 11 points, 63-52, with just under three minutes left in game when missed shots and turnovers helped the Panthers cut the lead to 63-59 with a minute left in the game. A layup by Devonta White would make it a one-possession game. The Eagles would inbound the ball, but a steal by James Fields drew a Georgia Southern foul. With an opportunity to cut the lead and tie the game, Fields missed, but a deadball foul gave Georgia State one more chance with 21 seconds left on the clock. Fields drove to the basket for a layin with seven seconds remaining. Georgia Southern's Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) last-ditch-effort attempt from behind the arc would be off the mark and the game headed to overtime.
Georgia Southern took its first lead with 16:59 left in the game. Behind 66.7 percent shooting from the field in the second half and a 16-4 run, the Eagles took a 52-39 lead with 10 minutes left to play. Georgia Southern would hold off two runs by the Panthers and build its lead up to double digits with three minutes remaining. The Eagles' shooting went cold and Georgia State would score 11 unaswered points to tie the game at the end of regulation, 63-63.
Hewitt joined Drayton and Ferguson in double figures, scoring 10. Spencer's three assists tied a career high while Zuri James (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scored a career-best, six points.
The Panthers took a 5-0 lead to start the game before a jumper by Baynham put the Eagles on the board. Georgia State would extend its lead to eight points before four points by Hewitt and three from Ferguson brought Georgia Southern within two, 12-14, with 11 minutes left in the first. McGee scored seven of the Panthers next nine points to put Georgia State up 29-25 with 1:36 remaining. The four-point lead would stand as the Eagles trailed 31-27 at halftime.
Georgia Southern returns to action December 29th at Auburn before a two-game homestand begins 2011 against Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 2) and SoCon foe Western Carolina (Jan. 5).
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 22 December 2010 23:44