A Tale of Two Halves: Georgia Southern Falls at Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Georgia Southern men's basketball team won the first half against Florida Wednesday night, despite the score, but it couldn't walk out of the Stephen C. O'Connell Center a winner. In the Gainesville Regional game of the Legends Classic, the Eagles controlled the first half, holding the Gators to 25.8 percent field goal shooting, but poor shooting by the Eagles and second-half foul trouble opened the door for a 69-49 Florida win. Georgia Southern led for most of the first half, by as many as four points, while frustrating the Gators with hard-nosed defense. At times Florida was shooting as low as 17 percent in the first period, including 0-9 from behind the arc.
The Eagles delivered the first blow, building a four-point lead over the first seven minutes and kept the margin at three, mingled with six ties throughout the first half. Junior forward Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) had 11 points off three layups and five free throws. Georgia Southern as a team shot only 32 percent in the first half, and that, combined with 10 free throws gave Florida a slim 26-25 lead at the half.
Opening the second half, the Eagles scored the first five points to take a four-point lead before missing their next six shots. Kenny Boynton started the Florida run with two field goals of his own and an assist on a Vernon Macklin dunk. A jumper by senior guard Antoine Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) broke the first scoring drought with the Eagles behind 32-39. Within the next 19 seconds Johnson would pick up his third foul and the Eagles leading rebounder Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) would pick up his fourth, putting them both on the bench. Florida extended its lead to 12, 48-36, off two Macklin layups and buoyed by nine points from the charity stripe.
"Wins and losses don't always measure your growth," said first-year head coach Charlton Young. "We are preparing ourselves by playing the best. We want to win, but it is also important for us to learn. These two games have been tough, but we have learned a lot - we have learned what it takes to play at this level."
For the second straight game, senior guard Antonio Hanson hit three three-point shots in the second half, hitting two back-to-back to cut the lead to seven at 7:15. Georgia Southern went 1-6 with only a Willie Powers (Gainesville, Ga.) layup and Florida was 1-4 over the next four minutes. With 2:38 left in the half, Florida had built a 13-point lead and Johntavious Rucker (Decatur, Ga.) and Baskerville were within seconds of fouling out.
Spencer led the Eagles with 13 points and had seven rebounds, and Hanson finished with 11 points, nine in the second half. Baskerville posted his third straight double-figure rebounding game with 10. With the Eagles in foul trouble, Florida went to the free throw line 43 times and connected on 29. Boynton scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the second period with Chandler Parson and Vernon Macklin contributing 15 each.
Georgia Southern, now 1-2, ends its three-game road trip at Jacksonville State on Saturday with a 5 p.m. contest against the 1-1 Gamecocks.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 21:14