Georgia Southern Takes Chattanooga to Brink, Falls 75-66
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - For the third consecutive game, Georgia Southern Men's Basketball took one of the SoCon's elite to the brink as the Eagles fell 75-66 at North Division leader Chattanooga. The Eagles trailed by as many as 18 in the second half, but cut the lead to three points with just under three minutes remaining. Junior Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) matched a career-high scoring 24 points to became the 37th member of the 1,000 point club at Georgia Southern.
"I'm so proud of these guys," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We've been through a lot this year, but we're still fighting hard. This team believes that they can win the Southern Conference Tournament and they can when they play like this. We've still got some things to work on, but our breakthrough is coming."
Drayton reached the 1,000-point milestone at the 1:56 mark in the first half as he drained a runner from nine feet for Georgia Southern's (4-20, 0-11 SoCon) 30th point of the night. With the basket, he became the 37th member of the 1,000 point club at Georgia Southern. Later in the game, Drayton would move past Don Wallen for 36th place all-time (1,007 points) and Doug Corry for 35th place (1,010 points), finishing the game with 1,013 career points. He also made five assists and had four rebounds in the game.
Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) scored 10 points along with four assists and four rebounds to go with two steals. Zuri James (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had nine points while freshman Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) scored eight with a pair from downtown. Top rebounding honors went to freshman Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) with five boards and seven points.
Chattanooga (14-10, 10-2 SoCon) had two players post 19 points on the night. Omar Wattad scored 19 while going 5-of-7 from downtown and Ricky Taylor matched the feat with a perfect 4-for-4 night from arc.
Georgia Southern enjoyed an early five-point lead as Drayton scored the first points of the night followed by a three-pointer from Bussey. The advantage, however, would evaporate, and the Mocs would lead by as many as 11 in the first half.
Chattanooga took a 41-32 lead into the halftime break as the Mocs shot a season-best 65.2 from the field to Georgia Southern's 63.6. The Mocs were 6-for-10 from three-point land while the Eagles just 2-of-5.
Out of the intermission, Chattanooga sprung a 11-2 run to take the lead to 18 points, 52-34 with 15:31 remaining. The Eagles answered with a 10-0 run sparked by seven points from James over the next two minutes. After Chattanooga upped the lead back to 13, Georgia Southern made another 11-0 run to take the UTC lead to just two points with 10:19 remaining.
The lead would grow as the Mocs scored their next three baskets off three-balls while the Eagles made three-straight layups to take the game inside four minutes. Drayton scored on a fourth-straight layup at 2:58 but was fouled on the play. The free throw was no good and the Chattanooga lead remained at three points.
Chattanooga converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:41 remaining but it was Hewitt's clutch three-ball just 11 seconds later that brought the Eagles back to within three points.The Mocs scored six unanswered points to close the precedings and hand the Eagles the loss.
Georgia Southern cooled from the field in the second half, shooting .483 and .545 from the perimeter (6-for-11) while the Mocs shot.525 in the final half from the field and .667 (6-for-9) from downtown. GSU tallied eight steals on the night and had two blocks. The Eagles forced 19 turnovers while committing 20 of their own. Chattanooga made the Eagles pay for turnovers, scoring 25 points off turnovers to Georgia Southern's 14.
GSU will return home to play host to Samford on Saturday, Feb. 5th, starting at 1 p.m. The game, broadcast live on SportSouth, will be the sixth-annual "Pack the House in Pink" date in support of breast cancer awareness. The Eagles will then take a tour of South Carolina's Upstate with games at Furman (Feb. 10) and Wofford (Feb. 12).
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 Thursday, 03 February 2011 22:31