Eagles Take College of Charleston to Brink, Drop 65-61 Decision
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern Men's Basketball played its best game of the conference season, but it wasn't enough on Wednesday night, January 26th, as College of Charleston held on for a 65-61 win over the Eagles. Junior Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) scored 20 points, his highest total in the last 14 games.
Drayton not only led the Eagles (4-18, 0-9 SoCon) in scoring, but he also paced Georgia Southern in assists with seven and steals with five. Senior Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) dropped 11 points and a team-high six rebounds to go with two blocks. Freshman Jelani Hewitt (Oakland Park, Fla.) scored 10 points with three steals on the night.
"I feel like we really found ourselves tonight," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "I'm not into moral victories, but I feel like our team played tough and showed their true colors as fighters."
The Cougars (15-6, 8-1 SoCon) stayed on top of the SoCon South standings as the league's leading scorer Andrew Goudelock scored 27 points with four assists and three steals. Jeremy Simmons also reached double-figures with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Freshman Eric Ferguson (Statesboro, Ga.) scored eight points with four rebounds as he returned to the starting lineup for the first time in four games. Fellow freshman Tré Bussey (Lithia Springs, Ga.) also scored eight points off the bench in 28 minutes of action.
A back-and-forth first half gave Charleston a six-point lead at the halftime interval, 28-22. Both teams posted low shooting percentages in the opening stanza with the Eagles shooting 9-for-26 (.346) and the Cougars going 11-for-30 from the field (.367). The six-point deficit was less than half of the halftime margin in the first meeting when Charleston led by 13-points.
After the Cougars converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to start the second half, Spencer sparked a 7-0 Georgia Southern run with a silky-smooth up-and-under layup. The senior scored five points in the stretch to bring the Eagles level with the Cougars at 31-31.
A bucket from downtown for Charleston gave it a three-point lead at the 15:01 mark. Drayton, who closed out the 7-0 run with a deuce, scored two more baskets to give GSU its second lead of the evening and first since the 15:50 mark in the first half.
The lead changed hands twice in less than a minute before the Cougars went on a 7-0 run of their own to take a six-point lead at the 12:02 mark. The Eagles roared back to tie the game, 46 all, on a three-pointer from Hewitt that sent the Georgia Southern faithful stratospheric with 10:04 remaining in the game.
A 13-4 run for the Cougars gave the visitors a 59-50 lead inside of five minutes. A second-chance bucket from Ferguson ended the run at 4:24 to bring the Eagles within seven points. A turnover at the hands of GSU's pressure defense allowed Drayton to drain a pair of free throws and cut the advantage to five points coming out of the final media timeout.
After an offensive foul by the Cougars, Drayton found Spencer underneath on the next possession for his sixth assist and Spencer's 11th point of the night to cut the lead to three points.
Charleston converted a one-and-one with 2:09 left to go up by six again and a stolen inbounds pass gave the Cougars a bonus possession. A jump ball turnover returned the ball to GSU down by five. Drayton was fouled in the act of shooting with 1:19 remaining. He made both from the stripe to cut the lead to three again.
Goudelock scored a bucket from in the paint at the other end with 55 seconds left to take the led to five before Bussey knocked in a clutch three with 44 seconds left to trail by just two points.
The Cougars drained the clock and pulled an offensive rebound which forced the Eagles to foul with five seconds left on the clock. Goudelock made both free throws as he went 10-for-11 from the stripe on the night to give the Cougars a four-point lead.
A last-chance three missed with two seconds left to cement the College of Charleston victory.
"After tonight's game, I feel like everyone is excited about getting Davidson in here on Monday night," added Young.
Georgia Southern's big stat of the night was a total of 11 turnovers, which was the Eagles' lowest total since the Citadel game on Dec. 4th. Both teams improved from the field in the second half as the College of Charleston out-shot GSU .447 (21-of-47) to .444 (24-of-54). The Cougars won the rebounding battle 30-28 as both teams pulled 14 offensive rebounds.
The Eagles play host to Davidson on Monday night, Jan. 31st, at Hanner Fieldhouse starting at 7 p.m. Georgia Southern will then take to the road for a game at Chattanooga on Feb. 3rd before returning home to face Samford on Saturday, Feb. 5. The Samford game will be broadcast live on SportSouth starting at 1 p.m. The Samford game marks the sixth annual "Pack the House in Pink" event with the first 150 fans receiving a free t-shirt courtesy of The University Store.
The "Voice of the Eagles" Chris Blair will have the play-by-play of Monday's Davidson game on 102.9 WPMX FM and online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision beginning at 6:30 p.m. Scores will be provided at regular intervals at Twitter.com/GSScores.
Fans may follow Georgia Southern Men's Basketball by visiting GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/basketball or check in at twitter.com/GSAthletics or facebook.com/GSAthletics for short updates. Live stats will be available on the schedule section at the bottom of the main athletics website. Live video is available for the game against the Wildcats for a subscription price of $4.95.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 21:01