Eagles Lose at North Division Leader Western Carolina
Ahead by 10 early in the second half, Western then went on an 11-2 run and eventually led by 20 points at the 12-minute media timeout (69-49). The Eagles cut the deficit to 11 on two occasions, the last when Julian Allen (Waterbury, CT) hit a driving lay-in with 4:18 remaining.
The Eagles got the ball back with a chance to cut the lead under 10, but missed from long range and that would be the closest they would get. The loss was the second straight against a SoCon Divisional leader (loss Saturday vs. South Division leader Davidson) and ended a streak of three games in five days two coming on the road. Head coach Jeff Price thought fatigue might have played a role but will not use that as an excuse.
“I think it is, but if you’re going to be a good team they can’t be (fatigued). That’s part of the schedule and you have to be mentally and physically tough enough to play through that. We knew it would be tough and I don’t think we answered it very well,” said Price.
The Eagles took an early 6-4 lead before Western scored 12 unanswered over the next four minutes. Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, GA) ended the streak with a 3-pointer.
Western went ahead 31-20 with six minutes left but the Eagles scored eight of the next 11 points and would cut the deficit to five points on a couple of occasions. Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1.5 seconds left to make it 43-35 at the half.
Western shot 54.5 percent compared to the Eagles’ 48.1 percent, and held a 19-13 edge on the glass during the first 20 minutes. Antoine Johnson (Atlanta, GA) hit all four field goal attempts and finished the half with a team-high 10 points. Tyler Troupe (Gallatin, TN) led all players with seven rebounds.
In the end Georgia Southern has allowed 80 points in four of its last five games, all in conference play.
“They’re (Western) a good team, on top of the north division. But I don’t think we played near like we need to play. Until we get more focus on the defensive end of the floor we are going to continue to struggle. We got to continue to buy in on defense and we’ll continue to work on it,” said Price.
For the second straight game, Drayton led the team in scoring. The true-freshman guard battled through foul trouble in the first half to tally 15 points and did not commit a turnover in 25 minutes.
Johnson added a season-high 14 points off the bench, hitting 6-of-8 field goals. He finished two off his career-high, done last year at home against Western.
Allen scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds. The Eagles shot 48 percent from the field and 10-of-14 from the free throw line. Western shot 55.6 percent from the field and out-rebounded GS 37-28. Kendall Russell grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for Western.
Jake Robinson led four Catamounts in double-figures with 20 points.
The Eagles return to Hanner Fieldhouse on Thursday (Jan. 22), playing host to South Division member Wofford. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 19 January 2009 00:10