A Rivalry Renewed at Hanner Fieldhouse
Georgia State (4-4, 1-0 CAA) vs. Georgia Southern (3-9, 0-2 SoCon)
December 22, 2010 • 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Hanner Fieldhouse (Statesboro, Ga.)
Georgia Southern leads the series 30-12. The rivalry between the former Trans America Athletic Conference rivals was renewed last season after a 13-year hiatus. The Panthers won last year's game, 85-65, at GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta. Georgia State has won the three previous contests, including a 68-49 victory in Hanner Fieldhouse during the 1996 season before the series was put on hold.
OLD TAAC RIVALS RETURN TO HANNER
Georgia Southern and Georgia State played 19 of the previous 42 meetings as members of the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC). The TAAC rivalry, which lasted from 1985-1992, was dominated by the Eagles who owned a 16-3 series record against Georgia State as a TAAC member. The last meeting between the two schools as TAAC members occured at Hanner Fieldhouse, March 11, 1992, in the TAAC Tournament Championship.
In one of the most memorable games in Georgia Southern Basketball history, junior Charlton Young's 20 points and eight assists in the TAAC Tournament Championship led Georgia Southern to a 95-82 victory over Georgia State at Hanner Fieldhouse. The victory gave the Eagles a third TAAC Tournament Championship and a berth in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young, named after actor Charlton Heston, is a 1994 graduate of "THE" Georgia Southern University who started at point guard for the Eagles from 1989-1993. Introduced on April 9, 2009 as the new "CEO" of the Georgia Southern Men's Basketball program, Young guides a program on the rise.
As a player, Young was named the Trans American Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player for his performances in three Eagle victories in the 1992 TAAC tournament and he capped the championship victory over Georgia State with 20 points and eight assists, leading the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament.
A three-time All-Conference selection at point guard in two different leagues (Trans America Athletic: 1990-91, 1991-92; Southern: 1992-93), Young earned All-Tournament Team honors in both the TAAC and SoCon and still stands in the 'Top 10' in numerous Georgia Southern statistical categories.
Rod Barnes enters his fourth season as head coach of the Georgia State Panthers. Prior to Georgia State, Barnes was the head coach at his alma mater Ole Miss where he compiled a 141-109 record over an eight-year span that included three NCAA Tournament appearances. In first season at the helm, Barnes guided the 1998-99 Rebels to a 20-win season and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss would go on to defeat Villanova in the first round to give the school its first NCAA Tournament win ever. Two years later, Barnes would guide the 2000-01 Rebels to a school-record 27 victories and a trip back to the NCAA Tournament where they defeated Iona and Notre Dame to reach the Sweet 16. For his accomplishments that season, Barnes was honored as the the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year as well as the Naismith Coach of the Year.
GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS
Georgia State, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, enters Wednesday's game having won two of its last three games, including scoring layup at the buzzer to beat CAA foe James Madison, 64-63, at home on Dec. 4th. The Panthers won their last game, defeating Florida A & M, 76-67, at GSU Sports Arena on Dec. 18th. Jihad Ali led the Panthers with 15 points while Brandon McGee captured 11 rebounds. McGee also contributed 13 points en route to his first career double-double. Devonta White scored 13 points in his first career start.
McGee is Georgia State's leading scorer, averaging 8.8 points per game. Eric Buckner, who averages a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game, is the Panthers second-leading scorer (8.6).
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST GAME
Georgia Southern freshman Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) had 13 points against South Alabama to lead the Eagles in scoring for the third time this year. Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) had a team-high six rebounds. Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) and Ferguson joined Hewitt in double-figure scoring as Drayton finished the game with 12 points and Ferguson had 10. Drayton and teammate Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) each finished the game with five rebounds.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Three Eagles are in the top 15 of the SoCon in scoring average. Ben Drayton III ranks eighth (14.7) while Rory Spencer and Eric Ferguson rank 11th (14.4) and 13th (13.8), respectively. Jelani Hewitt is in 27th place with 10.8 ppg.
MAKING A MARK IN THE SOCON
Going into Wednesday night's game, Rory Spencer and Eric Ferguson are both ranked in the SoCon Top 15 in rebounds with Spencer ranking eighth (6.6) and Ferguson 12th (5.8). Spencer and Ferguson also rank sixth (2.6) and 10th (2.1) in the SoCon offensive rebounds category with Spencer's 4.4 defensive rebounds per game also ranking seventh best in the league. Ben Drayton's 3.6 assists per game puts him in ninth place in the assist category for the SoCon. Spencer also ranks 15th in the SoCon in field goal percentage, shooting 46.0 percent from the field.
Two Eagles ranked in the top 10 of the SoCon blocked shots list helped lift Georgia Southern to a fifth-place SoCon ranking (2.9). Rory Spencer's 1.9 blocks per game tops the list while Eric Ferguson ranks in a tie for 10th (0.8). The Eagles are also fifth best in the league in offensive scoring with 71.0 points scored per game.
STEALING AN OPPORTUNITY AWAY
Three Eagles, the most players of any school to rank in the top 10, ranked in the top eight of the SoCon steals-per-game chart has propelled Georgia Southern to 22nd in the national rankings as well as a first-place SoCon ranking (9.5). Eric Ferguson and Ben Drayton III are tied for 49th nationally and fourth in the SoCon with 2.2 steals per game while Jelani Hewitt's 1.8 steals per game ranks right behind for eighth place in the SoCon.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 20 December 2010 18:02