Inspired Second Half Pushes Georgia Southern to Hoops Win
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Georgia Southern freshman Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) scored 17 points to lead the Eagles to a 101-84 victory over Reinhardt Thursday night in Hanner Fieldhouse. Hewitt was one of seven players who scored in double figures as Georgia Southern shot 65.4 percent for the game and eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time since the season-opening win against Reinhardt last November.
A 15-4 scoring run in the second half propelled the Georgia Southern to a 22-point lead, its largest of the game at 96-74, on its way to its second win of the year.
Georgia Southern shot 68 percent in the second half and held Reinhardt to a 38.9 field goal percentage in the period after Reinhardt shot 51.5 percent in the first half. In a game with little or no flow, the two teams combined for 50 fouls and, consequently, 63 free throw attempts. Georgia Southern converted 27 points on 37 trips to the charity stripe.
After Reinhardt cut Georgia Southern's halftime lead to four early in the second half, senior forward Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) helped GSU pull away to a 66-54 margin as he scored eight of his 13 points over a two-minute stretch. Spencer also picked up a steal to feed freshman Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) for a layup and registered one of his four blocked shots during that period.
A trey by freshman guard Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) and jumper by sophomore forward Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) extended the GSU lead to 15 with just under 14 minutes to play. Georgia Southern continued to score consistently, but three of its post players already had three fouls each and freshman starting forward Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.) picked up his fourth with 12:20 left to go in the game.
A double technical on the Georgia Southern bench at 11:44 of the second half sent Reinhardt's Steven Jenkins to the line for four free throws, cutting the Georgia Southern lead to single-digits for the first time since the 15:30 mark of the half. The technical fouls earned Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young an ejection from the game and Assistant Coach Steve Smith assumed head coaching duties.
"It was a tighter game than we expected, and the first half didn't go as well as we wanted it to defensively," said Assistant Coach Steve Smith. "We have a couple of goals defensively we are working on, and in the first half, we didn't accomplish those goals. In the second half we did a better job defensively, but a big part of it was that we didn't turn the ball over as much."
Ferguson and Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) each had 16 points with Spencer adding 13. Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.) and Baynham had career best totals of 11 and 10, respectively. Ferguson and Baskerville combined for 11-11 shooting from the floor, helping GSU to its best single-game field goal percentage of the year. Reinhardt guard David Lawson finished with a game-high 25 points with three others putting up double-figure totals. Lawson was also the game-high rebounder with eight boards while Baskerville grabbed seven for Georgia Southern.
"That was the best thing about tonight, we had seven guys who scored in double figures," Smith said. "That is a huge confidence booster. One of our points of emphasis has been to make the extra pass and be unselfish and we did that tonight. We had 19 assists and shot 65 percent from the floor. We made great decisions getting the inside-outside shots and we hope to carry that over to Sunday and the rest of season."
Through the first four minutes of the game, Georgia Southern and Reinhardt went back and forth with Carrlos Lyles hitting a jumper to tie the game at 8 all. GSU proceeded to go on an 18-0 run to pull out to a 26-8 lead off points from six different players. Baskerville had two baskets during the run with Zuri James (Atlanta, Ga.) hitting a jumper and adding two free throws. Bussey hit the first three-pointer of his career during the run.
Reinhardt rattled off a 13-2 run of its own to cut the lead to seven with nine minutes left in the first half. The Georgia Southern lead crept back up to nine, but Reinhardt's Lawson had a steal and then took it the length of the court for a layup. A quick jumper by Tyler Backwell off an assist from Lawson made it a five-point game again, 30-25. Reinhardt would get within four at the 6:07 mark before a Baynham dunk and Hewitt trey would provide a little more cushion, 39-31, Georgia Southern.
The two teams traded baskets over the next two minutes before Sam Mike (Atlanta, Ga.) gave GSU a nine-point lead with his jumper in the lane. Two field goals by Drayton offset Reinhardt jumpers by Lawson and Hobbs. A Lyles jumper with 11 seconds left in the first half trimmed the lead to seven, 51-44, Georgia Southern.
Georgia Southern improved to 2-1 on the year and will play next at South Florida Sunday, November 21st. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. in the Sun Dome.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Thursday, 18 November 2010 22:54