Eagles Prepare for SoCon Men's Basketball Tournament
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. The third season begins on Friday afternoon (March 6) for the Georgia Southern Men’s Basketball team, as the Eagles prepare to face Appalachian State in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at McKenzie Arena on the campus of University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Chris Blair and Frank Kerns will call the game on Eagle 102.9 FM and via the internet at www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com. The broadcast will begin 30 minutes before tipoff.
The Eagles enter post-season play as the fifth seed in the South Division, facing the fourth-seed Mountaineers. If the Eagles win they will face Davidson, the South’s number one seed, Saturday afternoon. The semifinals are Sunday and the championship game set for Monday night on ESPN.
Georgia Southern (8-21 overall) will have an opportunity to forget about a disappointing regular season in which three players suffered season-ending injuries and being without the services of three others the past nine games.
“I think first mentally we just have to be determined that this is the third season and block out the season we’ve had up to this point. We must look at it as a fresh start and an opportunity to start over,” said head coach Jeff Price, who is one victory shy of 300 in his 16-year coaching career.
Appy (12-17) owns an 18-15 edge in the all-time series, including a 95-82 win over the Eagles in early February inside Hanner Fieldhouse. The Mountaineers upset Georgia Southern the last time these two teams met in the tournament (2005-06 season).
“I think we need to be very cautious how we play the game. App’s very explosive offensively. I don’t think we want to get in a track meet with them by any means. We need to approach the game cautiously and play smart,” said Price.
More than half of the Eagles that will suit up Friday have yet to experience the SoCon Tournament atmosphere. Price and seniors Antony Marshall (Lake Worth, FL/Lake Worth) and Kenith Ward (Warner Robins/Northside) have helped prepare the Eagles for what the post-season could have in store.
“We have addressed that this is a new start. Until we get there we won’t be able to tell (how the team will react). I think obviously our seniors know how important it is,” said Price.
Antonio Hanson (Fort Worth, TX/Independence CC) continues to hold a slim lead in scoring average, just ahead of freshman Ben Drayton III (St. Marys/Camden County). The backcourt duo averages 11.9 and 11.7 points per game, respectively.
Drayton continues to lead the SoCon shooting 50.6 percent from 3-point range. That would not only set a Georgia Southern freshman and program single-season record, but also rank fifth among the SoCon season Top 10’. Named to the SoCon All-Freshman Team, Drayton has scored in double-figures 11 straight games and played at least 35 minutes in the last nine contests.
Hanson has made 80 3-pointers this year, good for sixth place among the Georgia Southern season Top 10’.
Tyler Troupe (Gallatin, TN/Iowa Western CC) averages 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The junior forward stands 12th among the SoCon rebounding leaders and tied for 13th in blocked shots (0.6).
In the earlier meeting versus Appy Drayton scored a then career-high 22 points and Sandy Perry (Perth Amboy, N.J./Barton County CC) added 10. Donald Sims led ASU with 29 points and Isaac Butts added 17 points and 19 rebounds.
Appalachian State tied with Samford for the North Division’s third place, however, with Samford winning at ASU last Saturday that completed the season sweep so the Mountaineers dropped to the four seed. Appy dropped a 72-63 decision against the Bulldogs last Saturday at home. Kellen Brand scored a game-high 21 points. Josh Hunter added 10 points/11 rebounds and Sims added 10 points. ASU committed 21 turnovers but did hold a 29-26 edge on the glass. The Mountaineers shot 42.3 percent for the game while Samford finished at 52.3 percent, out-scoring the host team 45-31 in the second half.
Overall Brand leads the scoring attack at 15.0 ppg. He is followed by Sims at 13.2 points. Isaac Butts is averaging 8.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Hunter improved his averages to 8.5 points and 7.2 boards per game.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Thursday, 05 March 2009 00:23