Men's Basketball Plays First SoCon Games in Beginning of "Second" Season
STATESBORO, Ga. - The early part of "Season 2" for Georgia Southern Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young begins Thursday, Dec. 3, with the Eagles traveling to the College of Charleston for a 7 p.m. game. The Cougars have had almost a full week to prepare for Georgia Southern after a loss to ninth-ranked Tennessee last Friday (November 27). The Eagles played three straight days last weekend, going 2-1 in the Statesboro Sub-regional of the Legends Classic, and bring a two-game win streak into Southern Conference play. Georgia Southern plays at The Citadel Saturday at 3 p.m. for the second game of the early conference road swing before finals week.
"I tell our team that our season is really three seasons within the one - non-conference games are 'season one,' conference games comprise 'season two,' and the conference tournament is 'season three," said Young. "We have a little bit of crossover with our non-conference games and this road trip, but everything we have learned in our games so far is going to help us tremendously as we head into conference play."
Georgia Southern lost both decisions to the College of Charleston last season, both by a 13-point margin, 87-100, in a January 10 game at Charleston and 68-81 at Hanner Fieldhouse February 19. Last season the Eagles were without the services of Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) in both games as he went down with a knee injury in The Citadel game prior to the January meeting. The Cougars have a 22-17 lead in the series and have won the last four contests between the two schools.
Senior guard Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) was the leading scorer for the Eagles in the January 10 game with 25 points, but the Cougars shot 56 percent to put the game at a comfortable margin by halftime. In the February game at Hanner, Tyler Troupe (Gallatin, Tenn.) had the Eagles' high with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Heading into conference play, four Eagles are averaging double figures in scoring with Powers (15.3), Hanson (14.4) and Rory Spencer (12.0) in the starting lineup with Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) providing 10.7 points off the bench. Freshman forward Cameron Baskerville (Marietta, Ga.), who missed the last two games with a muscle strain, averages 8.0 rebounds per game. Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) is behind Baskerville with a 5.9 boards per game average.
In last weekend's three-game Legends Classic, Powers was named the tournament MVP of the Statesboro sub-regional and Hanson earned all-tournament team honors. Powers averaged 20.3 points per game in the three games at Hanner with a career-best 27 points against Valparaiso game. Powers hit the game-winning shot with two seconds left to give Georgia Southern the victory over Troy with a flawless game with six assists and no turnovers, contributing 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Hanson scored in double figures in all three games, extending his skein to six. He had 20 against the Crusaders and tied for the team lead with 18 against Arkansas-Fort Smith. In the finale vs. Troy, Hanson had 14 points with four three-pointers, as well as three assists and two steals.
"This weekend showed us we have what it takes to finish close games," said Powers. "We just have to keep taking strides in putting a full 40 minutes of Georgia Southern basketball together. Last weekend helped our team in a lot of different situations."
Georgia Southern is the league-leader in scoring with 77.9 points per game and has a SoCon-best 16.0 assists per game. Individually, five Eagles, the most of any conference team, rank in the top 30 in scoring, Powers (T8th-15.3), Hanson (10th-14.4), Spencer (16th-12.0), Drayton (23rd-10.7) and Johnson (30th-9.9). Several Georgia Southern players are listed in the SoCon statistical rankings with top-five placements for Spencer (blocked shots 1st-2.7), Hanson (3-Pt FG Made 1st-3.9), Powers (assists 4th-4.7), Rucker (steals 2nd-2.6) and Drayton (A/T ratio 3rd-2.8).
The first set of NCAA statistical rankings was produced today with three Eagles holding spots in the top 50 of their respective categories. Hanson ranks seventh nationally with his 3.9 three-point field goals per game. Spencer is tied at 26th in blocked shots (2.7 per game) and Rucker is 41st in steals per game (2.6)
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Tuesday, 01 December 2009 22:23