Eagles Stumble Against Furman
STATESBORO, Ga. - A second-half surge brought the Georgia Southern Men's Basketball Team to the brink of a comeback, but strong shooting late gave Furman a 74-56 over the Eagles. GSU was paced by 16 points from Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) while freshman Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) pulled nine rebounds.
"We really took a lot of positives out of the second half," said head coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We put ourselves in a hole early and we worked very hard to get back in the ballgame. Unfortunately, we couldn't get over the hump. Overall, our team played well, but it hurts that it doesn't show up on the scoreboard."
The Eagles (4-15, 0-6 SoCon) trailed by 19 at the break but mustered a rally that cut the lead to just six points inside of six minutes remaining in the game. Furman (12-5, 4-2 SoCon), however, would go on a 14-2 run down the stretch to extend the lead back to 18 points.
Senior Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) notched 13 points and five rebounds in the game while Zuri James (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had 12 points on the afternoon as he matched a career high for three-pointers in a game with four. Freshman Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) moved into sole possession of fourth place on the freshman steals chart with his 36th steal of the season.
The Eagles were slow out of the gate, committing five turnovers in the first five minutes as Furman rushed out to a 14-2 lead. The Paladins made the most of the opportunities, from downtown making five-of-five from the perimeter in the first eight minutes.
The Furman lead grew to as many as 18 before the Eagles rattled off a 7-1 lead to bring the advantage back to 12 points with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Furman shot .636 (14-of-22) from the field and went 8-for-14 to take the 42-23 lead at intermission. Georgia Southern forced nine first half turnovers but shot just .333 (8-of-24) from the field in the opening period.
Following the interval, James sparked an 8-0 run with a pair of treys to cut the lead down to 11 points, which forced Furman to take its first timeout of the second half at 17:30. The Paladins answered with a three-pointer on the next possession.
The lead would grow back to 17 points before Marvin Baynham's (Miami, Fla.) backdoor-cut layup brought the Furman lead to 12 points with 10:39 remaining. Baynham finished the game with four points.
The Eagles poured on the pressure forcing two turnovers over the next two minutes to go on a 9-4 run and bring the Paladins within nine points at the 8:44 mark.
The next three minutes would see just one point off a Furman free throw as both teams struggled from the field and the free throw line. The lead was cut to eight as Spencer drained a pair of one-and-one free throws. A quick steal by Hewitt, his third of the night, allowed Hewitt to go into double-figure scoring and bring GSU within five points approaching the five minute mark.
The Paladins finished with a 14-2 run over the game's final 4:58 to stretch out the final margin. The final 11 points for Georgia Southern came exclusively from Spencer's hand.
Georgia Southern shot .364 for the game while Furman cooled in the second half to shoot .523 for the game. The Paladins held a slight advantage in rebounds (31-to-30) and Georgia Southern committed fewer turnovers by a 14-to-15 margin.
The Eagles will travel for a tour of North Carolina with games against UNC Greensboro and Elon. Georgia Southern faces UNCG on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and visits Elon on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The "Voice of the Eagles" Chris Blair will have play-by-play commentary of the game live on 102.9 WMPX FM and online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision starting on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.
Fans may follow Georgia Southern Men's Basketball by visiting GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/basketball or check in at twitter.com/GSAthletics or facebook.com/GSAthletics for short updates.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 15 January 2011 16:19