Georgia Southern's Upset Bid Over Auburn Falls Short
AUBURN, ALA. - Georgia Southern closed 2011 with one of its best performances in a 78-75 loss to the Auburn Tigers on Friday night at the Auburn Arena. The Eagles led for large stretches of the game and carried a lead as late as 2:24 in the second half. The loss closes a four-game road swing as the Eagles return to Hanner Fieldhouse on Monday evening for a date with Brewton-Parker. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.
"I'm so proud of our team for the way they played tonight," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We did a lot of the things that it takes to win big ball games and I feel like we grew a lot as a team. We're not going to hang our heads after playing like we did tonight, but we are going to get ready to win our next three ballgames against Brewton-Parker, Elon and Davidson."
Senior Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) led all scorers with a season high 23 points to go with five assists. Sophomore Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) scored 20 points to match his season high to go with a team-high six rebounds. He was 6-of-8 from the free throw stripe as the Eagles finished the night with a 76.5% mark from the line.
Senior Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) completed the trio of double figure scorers with 12 points with three steals. The Eagles shot a season-high 29-of-53 from the field, posting a 54.7% night from the field. Georgia Southern scored 42 of its 75 points, outscoring Auburn by a deuce from inside.
The Eagles posted a season-low 11 turnovers on the night and only allowed two blocked shots for Auburn, off of their average of 6.0 blocks per game. Sophomores Jelani Hewitt (Miramar, Fla.) and Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) each posted five points on the night while Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.) earned his third start of the season and had two points and four rebounds.
The Eagles carried a nine point advantage into the halftime break and led by as many as 14 in the opening period. Georgia Southern was spurred by 12 from Ferguson. The Eagles shot 16-of-25 from the field in the opening period for a 64.0% mark.
Auburn narrowed the gap to two points before Powers keyed the Eagles to a 10-point lead at 11:28 with 10-straight points of his own. Auburn closed the lead back to three points over the next five minutes.
The Tigers earned their first lead of the season half with 2:24 left in the game as Chris Denson made his only three-pointer of the night. The Eagles, however, would not be able to regain the lead as the Tigers opened up leads of three and four points as late as 12 seconds remaining. Powers drained a layup with six seconds left to cut the lead back to two points and a quick foul put the Tigers on the line.
Auburn's Frankie Sullivan made the first, but missed the second as Baynham grabbed the rebound. Drayton drew a foul with three seconds left and made both from the stripe and cut the lead to one point. The Tigers held serve on the other end as the Eagles set up for a Hail Mary play with 2.1 seconds left.
Freshman Chad Waddell (Evans, Ga.) delivered a perfect pass to fellow Freshman Tyrone Brown (Millen, Ga.). The local product went for layup which was no good to cement the three-point loss.
Georgia Southern returns home for a game against Brewton-Parker on Monday, January 2nd, at Hanner Fieldhouse. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and closes a doubleheader which starts with the Women's Game at 5:00 p.m.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Friday, 30 December 2011 22:57