Eagles Open Season with 90-81 Loss to Valpo
STATESBORO, Ga. - Rebounds were the story as Georgia Southern Men's Basketball opened the 2011-12 season with a 90-81 home loss to Valparaiso on Friday, November 11th. The loss for Georgia Southern is its first defeat in a home opener since the 1980-81 season. Senior point guard Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 13 points in the loss and became the 38th member of the 1,000 point club at Georgia Southern.
Willie reaching the 1,000 point milestone is a heck of an accomplishment," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "A guy like him that can score 1,000 points in Division I basketball, there is no question that he is a great player."
The Eagles were out-rebounded 37-28 on the night as Valparaiso's Ryan Brokehoff scored 22 points with 13 rebounds. The Crusader forward logged 13 rebounds with eight on the offensive boards.
"I am disappointed about us being shoved around tonight," added Young. "Scoring 81 points should be enough to win the game. Giving up 90 is unacceptable, but we are going to get better as this season goes along. We've got to do a lot better job of boxing out on the defensive side of the ball, and that's something we're going to work on before Wednesday's game against Wake Forest."
Top scoring honors went to sophomore Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.), who opened his second season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) added 19 points and three assists. Jelani Hewitt (Miramar, Fla.) was the fourth Eagle to reach double figure scoring with 10 points.
Powers became the 38th member of the 1,000 point club at Georgia Southern with his jumper from just outside the lane at the 7:06 mark in the first half. With 13 points, he moved into 36th place in all-time scoring at Georgia Southern with 1,011 career points, passing Don Wallen (1,007) and Doug Corry (1,010) on the all-time list. He also had a game-high five steals while playing 33 minutes.
The highlight of the first half was Drayton's ally-oop to Tyrone Brown (Millen, Ga.) for the local freshman's first career points. The bucket cut the Valpo lead to 37-34 with 20 seconds remaining in the first half. It also capped an 11-0 Georgia Southern run late in the half. The Crusaders added a pair of free throws in the final ten seconds to make the halftime lead 39-34.
Out of the intermission, the crusaders ran the lead out to 13 points just before the first media timeout, but a runner in the lane by Powers cut the lead to 50-39. The lead hovered around 10 points until a three-pointer by Hewitt brought the Eagles within 5 points approaching the 10-minute mark in the final period.
Valparaiso was able to maintain the advantage and cemented the 90-81 victory despite a late Georgia Southern rally. The Eagles finished the night on an, 11-5 run, drawing the margin back from 15 points.
The Eagles shot 49.1% from the field and were 54.5% from downtown. With six three-pointers, the Eagles reached a mark from beyond the arc seldom seen in 2010-11. Valparaiso shot 54.0% from the field and 21.1% from beyond the arc despite some early success from the bonussphere. The Eagles were better from the line, making 23-of-32 (71.9%) to Valpo's 32-of-45 (71.1%). The teams combined for 77 total free throws on 57 total fouls.
Georgia Southern takes to the road for the first time in 2011-12 on Wednesday evening for a test against ACC foe Wake Forest. The game will be aired live on SportSouth and can be heard locally on 103.7-FM The Boomer. Tipoff from the Lawrence Joel Coliseum is at 7:07 p.m.
Fans can follow their Eagles at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com or receive short updates at facebook.com/GSAthletics, twitter.com/GSAthletics or on Google+ at gplus.to/GSAthletics.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Friday, 11 November 2011 23:17