Men's Basketball Rallies to hold off Western
The Eagles win for the fourth time in the last five games and remain in second place in the Southern Conference South Division at 16-8 overall and 9-5 in the league. The Catamounts drop to 7-16, 3-10.
“I think (the players) know we didn’t play particularly well, but I credit Western with a lot of that,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “(Western Carolina) are a much improved basketball team and they’ve gotten really good defensively. I didn’t think we played well and I thought a lot of it had to do with them.
WCU took a 24-15 lead at the 7:09 mark after a 10-2 run but GSU answered with seven straight points and eventually took a 35-33 advantage into half time.
Neither team had trouble shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Georgia Southern converted 57.7 percent from the floor while Western Carolina countered with 54.2 percent.
The second half was a defensive struggle and the largest lead for either team through the first 11 minutes was three points. But a 5-0 GSU run broke a 48-48 tie and the Eagles never trailed again.
“They switched defenses a lot,” said Price. “They pack it in; they make it tight on you. Bottom line is they are a low possession team. We got 50 shots and they got 45 and that’s a low amount of field goal attempts in a game. And that’s the way they play. ... They’re just the type of team that you’re not going to blow out. And you’ve just got to keep grinding away and get a win. And that’s what we did.”
Georgia Southern hit 17 of their last 20 free throws, including 4-for-4 in the last 39 seconds.
“It was definitely good to see us making our shots at the line,” Price said. “That’s a place we’ve struggled. In tight games like this and low possession games, you’ve got to make your free throws.”
GSU senior Louis Graham (West Palm Beach, Fla.) paced the team with 18 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Antoine Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) came off the bench to tally a career-high 16 points and senior Anthony Marshall (Lake Worth, Fla.) added nine, all in the first half.
“(Antoine’s) been really efficient off the bench,” said Price. “I thought he came in and gave us a big lift. I thought Anthony Marshall came in and hit some 3s and gave us a lift. I thought our bench gave us a lift when we really needed it tonight.”
Western Carolina’s Brandon Giles led all players with 22 points, including four 3-pointers. But 18 of those came in the first half.
“I thought we did a good job of Brandon Giles in the second half,” said Price. “He’s an awfully good player and he was on fire but we locked him down a little bit.”
Georgia Southern takes a day off before hosting SoCon North leader Chattanooga Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Thursday, 07 February 2008 00:25