Near Flawless Play Gives Eagles 65-53 Win over The Citadel
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern Men's Basketball won its first SoCon game of the year with a triumphant 65-53 victory over The Citadel on Saturday (Feb. 19th) night in the friendly confines of Hanner Fieldhouse. The win snapped a program record-tying 15-game losing streak. Georgia Southern posted a season-low seven turnovers and just two in the second half while the defense held The Citadel to under .400 shooting for the game while blocking eight shots.
"I've been telling this team that they are dangerous and they proved it tonight," said Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We are looking to get a head of stream up going into the SoCon Tournament in two weeks. We're going to enjoy the win tonight, but tomorrow our focus will be on starting a winning streak against UNC Greensboro on Thursday night."
For the 17th time this season, junior Ben Drayton III (St Marys, Ga.) led Georgia Southern (5-24, 1-15 SoCon) in scoring with 15 points. He had six rebounds and six assists one game after posting his first career double-double. Senior Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) and sophomore Zuri James (Stone Mountain, Ga.) each posted 13 points. Spencer paired the scoring with a pair of blocks and four rebounds. James drained a trio of three-pointers and had two boards.
Freshman Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) had a balanced six points and six rebounds. He also made two blocks and two steals on the night. Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.) led the bench scorers with six points and a pair of monster blocks. Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) scored five points and had six assists to match Drayton for game high in the category.
The Citadel (9-20, 5-11 SoCon) dropped its seventh straight as Cameron Wells and Mike Groselle scored a game-high 17-points each. Groselle also had a game-high 10 rebounds for a double-double on the night. Georgia Southern's stellar defense held the Bulldogs to .380 shooting from the field and a .083 mark from downtown.
Georgia Southern went on the offensive from the opening tip, running out to an eight-point lead at 15:15. The Eagles kept their noses to the grindstone to take a 14-point 23-9 lead at 11:10 when Baynham made his second consecutive field goal.
The Bulldogs, however, went on a 17-3 lead to tie the game up at 26 with 3:41 left in the opening half.
With two seconds left on the clock and the ball being inbounded underneath the Eagle basket, Hewitt floated a pass to Ferguson at five feet. The freshman caught the ball in the air and drained the bucket as the half expired to give GSU its first halftime lead since the South Alabama game on Dec. 18th.
Out of the intermission, Georgia Southern re-built the lead to 10-points with an 11-2 run. The run was highlighted by a soaring block by Baynham at 13:56 that caused the crowd to erupt in cheers.
The Eagles earned their largest lead of the night at 7:40 when freshman Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) hit a jumper.
Georgia Southern did not allow The Citadel to get back in the game as the Bulldogs brought the lead under 10 points just once in the waning minutes.
An alley-oop dunk by Spencer from Drayton with six seconds left in the game put an exclamation point on Georgia Southern's first win since December 22nd against Georgia State.
The Eagles made seven turnovers in the game while swiping seven steals. GSU held a 32-22 advantage in points in the paint and a 16-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Eagles will close out the 2011 regular season at Hanner Fieldhouse with games against UNC Greensboro (Feb. 24th) and Elon (Feb. 26th). The 2011 Southern Conference Tournament opens on Friday, March 4th in Chattanooga, Tenn.
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. Live stats and video are available at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 19 February 2011 21:19