Eagles Return to the Nest Thursday Night vs. Charleston
GSU opened the season 9-2, including a seven-game winning streak. But while they have dropped three in a row, all were away from home and two were against teams that either were ranked (No. 25 Rhode Island) or have been ranked nationally (Davidson) during the season. The final loss came against UNC Greensboro, a school picked to win the SoCon North.
“We need to rebound, but we’re going to put the two losses behind us,” said head coach Jeff Price. “You’ve got to keep things in perspective - I think we played two of the best teams in the league on the road back-to-back, which is hard to do. Hopefully we’ll come back home and regroup a little bit and shoot the ball better. We just haven’t shot the ball well. That has hurt us more than anything, our ability to make shots. You can only defend for so long. We’ve got to find a way to make shots and score points.”
A common ingredient in the recent slide has been a slow start. Georgia Southern fell behind by 23 points to Rhode Island, 18 to Davidson and 10 to UNC Greensboro. In those three games the Eagles shot just 33.6 percent in the first half.
“If it continues to happen then the reason might be that we’re struggling to shoot the ball, but we didn’t struggle early (in the season),” said Price. “We shot the ball well (then) so I think it’s something we’re going through right now that certainly we’ll get through and be more aggressive offensively and maybe find more creative ways to score.”
Thursday’s tilt will be just the second home game in the last month. Following the game Georgia Southern heads back out on the road for three more games and won’t return again until Jan. 24.
A Georgia Southern-Charleston game generally guarantees a close contest. Since GSU snapped a five-game skid to the Cougars on Jan. 27, 2001, 10 of the 15 games have been decided by nine points or less, including five by three or fewer.
“It’s become a huge game for both programs and somewhat of a rivalry game,” said Price. “It usually means a lot towards the end of the season in the standings because both of our programs have been fortunate to play at the top of the league. We both know each other well and it should be a really good game.”
The Cougars have just two seniors on the roster and neither have started a game nor average more than four minutes per game.
“They’re a talented, young team that keeps getting better,” said Price. “They’re the type of team that will probably continue to grow and get better as we get closer to the tournament. They’re a little bit streaky but they’re a dangerous team. It’s a team that should have beaten both Florida State and South Carolina. They’re very capable, but I think that’s what happens when you’re really young.”
GSU’s top 3-point defense in the conference will be tested by CofC who average 25.4 3-point attempts per game, second in the league, and 8.5 treys per outing, third-best in the SoCon.
“They’re a really good 3-point shooting team and we’ve got to be sure not to let them get on a roll with 3-point shots because all of their players shoot almost half of their field goals from the 3-point line,” said Price.
Senior Louis Graham, who is coming off a 24-point, 10 rebound performance his last time out, enjoyed much success against Charleston last season. In three games he averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor. He poured in 19 points and nine boards in the regular season finale, helping him win the SoCon’s Player of the Week award. In his last two games against Charleston at home, he is averaging 20.5 points.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:13