Georgia Southern Comes up Short in Second-Half Battle
TAMPA, Fla. - A resurgence midway through the second half would not be enough for Georgia Southern, as it fell to South Florida 63-76 at the Sun Dome Sunday night. Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) led the Eagles with a season-high 19 points, the most points scored by the junior guard since playing against Troy last year on Dec. 29th. Senior forward Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) had 17 points and tied teammate Marvin Baynham (Miami, Fla.) with a team-best six rebounds. South Florida's Augustus Gilchrist led all scorers with 23 points while Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had a game-high nine rebounds off the Bulls bench.
"I thought we did a good job," said Assistant Coach Steve Smith who filled in for Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young who was serving a mandatory one-game suspension after having two technical's called against him versus Reinhardt. "The guys competed and played hard. It's hard to come into a tough BigEast environment, especially with the size of the players from South Florida. We tried to make adjustments but did not fully execute our game-plan which allowed their post guys to score."
Georgia Southern came out of the half battling to keep the Bulls lead to single digits. The second-half score would remain scoreless until the 17:13 mark when Jawanza Poland would capitalize on a Baynham foul with two made free throws. South Florida would then score two more points. The Eagles would make a 8-1 run that included a three-pointer by Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) and a layup by Drayton off a turnover that would cause the South Florida bench to take a timeout with 14:01 to play. The Bulls responded out of their timeout, going on a 12-2 run to make it a 57-40 game. The run would come to a steady halt after two successful free throw attempts from Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.). Fitzpatrick would cough the ball up to the Eagles who then converted on a three-pointer by Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.). The Bulls would try to respond but a missed layup opportunity and a defensive rebound by Baynham, would lead to a field-goal by Spencer.
Before fifty seconds ticked by, Georgia Southern would go on a 9-0 run that would conclude on a Drayton steal and an assist to Spencer for the dunk. The late run put the Eagles within eight points of the lead with 8:41 left in the game. That run by Georgia Southern would come up short as foul trouble would hurt the Eagles in the final minutes and help the Bulls leave the Sun Dome with a win.
South Florida shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half to help it start off the game with a 9-0 lead. Two free-throws by Spencer gave the Eagles their first points of the ballgame at the 16:01 mark. Six of Drayton's 19 points would cut the lead to 14-10 at the 13-minute mark but field-goals by Ron Anderson, Jr., and Fitzpatrick would extend the Bulls lead to nine. Georgia Southern would cut South Florida's lead to six with a layup by Ferguson with 6:35 left to in the first. A pair of field-goals from Gilchrist would extend the Bulls lead back to double digits. Georgia Southern would finally close the gap to single digits with a jumper by Spencer to close out the first half, 39-30.
Ferguson had 13 points to join Drayton and Spencer as the three players to score in double figures for the Eagles. Drayton's four assists ties a season best while Hewitt's five assist was a team-high and ties the freshman's season best. Ferguson's five steals is a personal best for him and is a season-high for the Eagles this season.
Georgia Southern held South Florida to a season-low 34 rebounds and scored 22 of its 63 points off a season-high 21 turnovers for the Bulls. The 76 points and 24 field-goals given up to South Florida is a season-low in both categories for Georgia Southern. The Bulls 34 total rebounds are the second-lowest total on the season and ties an opponent season-low for the Eagles.
Georgia Southern will travel to Lubbock, Texas, on Monday to prepare for its game against Texas Tech on Tuesday, November 23rd. GSU is 0-1 against Texas Tech, with the Red Raiders winning the only meeting 74-61 in Lubbock on November 11, 2005. This will be second of four straight games that the Eagles will compete in as part of the South Padre Invitational. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. eastern time.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Sunday, 21 November 2010 22:36