Georgia Southern Opens SoCon Play
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Georgia Southern (2-5) will travel to McAlister Fieldhouse as it opens Southern Conference play against The Citadel Bulldogs (1-4) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The contest will be one of two back-to-back games in Charleston for the Eagles as they go across town to face College of Charleston Saturday, December 4th.
Georgia Southern and The Citadel meet for the 43rd time. The Eagles lead the all-time series, 25-18, beginning with its first meeting in 1960. The two teams split the series a year ago, with both teams winning on their respective home courts.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE CITADEL
In the largest comeback in Georgia Southern basketball history, the Eagles went on a 16-4 run over 7:33 to close out the game and record a 61-58 win over The Citadel. Georgia Southern came back from a 21 point deficit at the 16:50 mark in the second half. Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 12 points in the second half, including the final six to secure the victory at Hanner Fieldhouse. Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) added 11 and Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) had 10 off the bench.
The Eagles finished the game with a season best 96.4 free throw percentage, going 27-28.
TALE OF THE TAPE
A 14-point margin in scoring favors Georgia Southern as it averages 74 points per game compared to The Citadel's 60 points per game. GSU leads The Citadel from the floor, knocking down 45 percent of field goals compared to the Bulldogs 37.5 percent. The Citadel is averaging a little over one more rebound per game than Georgia Southern, with the Bulldogs grabbing 35.2 rebounds per game (rpg) while the Eagles are averaging 34.1 rpg. The Citadel holds a slight advantage at the charity stripe, shooting 67.6 percent to Georgia Southern's 66.8 percent at the line. Both teams are pretty even in the assist category with GSU dishing out 13.6 assists a contest compared to 12.8 assists by The Citadel.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST GAME
Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) was two points shy of his career high, scoring a season-best 24 points against Mississippi Valley State. Drayton had four steals to tie a season-best mark while Justin Taylor's (Newnan, Ga.) five points marked a career-high and his first points as an Eagle. Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) had a career night grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking four shots, both career highs for the freshman. Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) tied a season-high five assists for the third time this season and connected on 6-6 from the charity stripe to record a career-best.
Eagles Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young, named after actor Charlton Heston, is a 1994 graduate of "THE" Georgia Southern University who started at point guard for the Eagles from 1989-1993. Introduced on April 9, 2009, as the new "CEO" of the Georgia Southern Men's Basketball program, Young guides a program on the rise.
As a player, Young was named the Trans American Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player for his performances in three Eagle victories in the 1992 TAAC tournament and he capped the championship victory over Georgia State with 20 points and eight assists, leading the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament.
A three-time All-Conference selection at point guard in two different leagues (Trans America Athletic: 1990-91, 1991-92; Southern: 1992-93), Young earned All-Tournament Team honors in both the TAAC and SoCon and still stands in the 'Top 10' in numerous Georgia Southern statistical categories.
Chuck Driesell is in his first season at the helm of The Citadel Bulldog program. Driesell, the son of legendary coach Lefty Driesell, became the 28th head coach of The Citadel on April 27, 2010, after spending the previous four years as an assistant at his alma mater Maryland, on head coach Gary Williams' staff. Before his stint at Maryland, Driesell served as head coach at Bishop Ireton High School from 2004-06.
THE CITADEL BULLDOGS
The Citadel started out of the gate losing three straight games to Richmond, Charleston Southern and James Madison. The Bulldogs picked up their first win against High Point before dropping a contest to Coastal Carolina.
Last game, Coastal Carolina came back from a five-point deficit at the half to defeat The Citadel 72-64. The Bulldogs' Cameron Wells, who scored 15 of The Citadel's 31 second-half points, had a team-high 22 points. Wells and teammates Bryan Streeter and Matt Clark each grabbed a team-best six rebounds.
Both Wells and Streeter lead The Citadel in scoring and rebounding. Wells' team-best 20.0 points per game ranks third in the SoCon while Streeter's team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game stands at fourth. Wells also picked-up preseason honors from the SoCon coaches and media as he was named to the 2010-11 Preseason All-Conference Team.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Four Eagles are in the top 15 of the SoCon in scoring average, the most players from any institution, among the top 25. Ben Drayton III and Rory Spencer are ranked in eighth- (16.4) and ninth-place (16.0) while freshmen Jelani Hewitt and Eric Ferguson are tied for 13th place with 12.7 ppg.
MAKING A MARK IN THE SOCON
Going into The Citadel, Rory Spencer is ranked seventh in the SoCon for rebounds per game (6.2) while Drayton's 50.5 percent shooting from the field and 3.6 assists per game rank 10th-best in the conference. Hewitt's 4.3 defensive rebounds per game is sixth-best in the league, and is second to Charleston's Trent Wiedeman (4.4) among all freshmen.
STEALING AN OPPORTUNITY AWAY
Three Eagles ranked in the top six of the SoCon steals per game chart has propelled Georgia Southern to a 19th ranking nationally as well as a first-place SoCon ranking (10.0). Ben Drayton is ranked 31st nationally and leads all SoCon players in steals per game with 2.6. Jelani Hewitt and Eric Ferguson are ranked tied for third (2.0) and sixth (1.9), respectively.
With Rory Spencer and Eric Ferguson both ranking in the top10, in the SoCon in blocks, they have helped move Georgia Southern into third-place with 3.3 blocks per game (bpg). Spencer leads the league with 2.2 bpg and Ferguson is tied for ninth with 0.9 bpg.
Both The Citadel's Zach Urbanus and Georgia Southern's Ben Drayton top the league in minutes played per game. Urbanus, who has played 39 of 40 minutes in the last four games, averages a first-place 38.6 minutes a game. Drayton, who played the full 40 minutes at Texas Tech, averages 37.0 minutes for second in the SoCon.
A FRESH TAKE
The Georgia Southern freshman accounts for 59.3 percent of the Eagles' scoring. Jelani Hewitt and Eric Ferguson average 12.7 ppg while the seven-total freshmen average 43.9 of GSU's 74.0 points.
THE CENTURY MARK
Georgia Southern's 101-84 victory against Reinhardt marked the first time the Eagles had scored at least 100 points in a game since last year's season-opening 108-59 win over Reinhardt.
Three Mississippi Valley State players, scoring 19 points apiece, would lead the Delta Devils past Georgia Southern, 75-64 at the South Padre Invitational Nov. 27th. Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) led all scorers with 24 points, two shy of his career-high 26. Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds, six coming on the offensive glass.
A made free throw by Drayton would tie the ballgame at 50, with 9:41 left in the game. The Eagles would go ahead with a layup by Justin Taylor (Newnan, Ga.) for their first lead since the 2:59 mark in the first half. Both teams would trade baskets until a Joyner three-pointer at the 6:57 mark would put MSV on a 21-8 run to close out the game with a victory.
The Eagles opened the first half with eight unanswered points before the Delta Devils got on the board with a field goal to make it 8-2 three minutes in. MVS would rally from the six-point deficit to tie the game 14-14 with 13:17 left in the half. In a see-saw first-half battle, which saw six ties and eight lead changes, GSU found itself down 36-34 at half.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Thursday, 02 December 2010 11:54