Hot Shooting Eagles Surge Past WCU, 68-65
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - A driving layup by (Gainesville, Fla.) with 1:40 remaining gave Georgia Southern a lead that would not be relinquished on Saturday afternoon as the Eagles took a 68-65 road win over Western Carolina at the Ramsey Center. The Eagles shot 57.1% from the filed on the night and went 7-of-16 (43.8%) from downtown to stop surging the Catamounts.
"We are always happy with a win, but I feel like our team needs to play with more poise on the road," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "We strive for perfection every time we go out on the floor, but I feel like our team is only at 75% of its potential right now. We played very hard tonight, and I feel like that is what got us the win this afternoon."
(Miramar, Fla.) led the Eagles (10-12, 8-4 SoCon) with 18 points, draining a pair of clutch three-pointers and grabbing a season-high five steals. The sophomore cemented the GSU victory with a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds of the game. Senior Ben Drayton III (St. Marys, Ga.) scored 14 points in the game, posting 10 of the Eagles' first 12 points on the night.
(Statesboro, Ga.) reached double figures after being held scoreless in the first half. He scored 13 points with a pair of blocks and eight rebounds. The Eagles as a team out-rebounded Western Carolina 31-23 in the contest. Powers finished the game with nine points and seven assists.
Western Carolina (10-15, 4-8 SoCon) was led by 17 points from Keaton Cole, while Harouna Mutombo dropped 16 points off the bench for the Catamounts.
The Eagles led by as many as nine in the first half, but Western Carolina made 6-of-9 from downtown in the opening period to cut GSU's lead to 33-30 at the break. The Eagles, however, shot 56.5% from the field to open the night.
Western erased the margin on the first possession of the second half with a three-pointer. The Eagles would respond with six-straight fast break points, but the Catamounts would respond from the perimeter to level the scores again with 17:30 left in the half.
The teams exchanged small leads over the middle moments of the second half. The Catamounts led by three points out of the under eight minute timeout, 60-57. A driving deuce by Hewitt cut the lead to one 5:08 remaining. An ally-oop from Powers to Ferguson on the next possession gave GSU a 61-60 lead.
With 3:28 left, Western converted an old fashioned three point play to go back up by two points. Hewitt, who made the foul on the play, atoned for his mistake with a trey at the other end of the floor to give GSU a one point lead.
Western Carolina scored a two-pointer with just over two minutes to go up one, but Powers drove for his ninth point of the night and a one point GSU lead. A WCU miss at the other end gave the Eagles the ball with 1:06 remaining as Coach Young took a timeout to set a play. Ferguson's trey attempt gave the Catamounts the ball back with just over 40 seconds remaining. They missed and got the rebound to set up a shot by Trey Sumler. His try missed and the Eagles grabbed the rebound.
With just two team fouls, Western was called for four fouls before the Eagles keyed the ball in with 10.5 seconds remaining. The Catamounts sent Hewitt to the line for a one-and-one with 9.7 remaining. He made both attempts to give GSU a three point lead.
The Eagles gave their two last fouls to delay Western's trip up the floor and the Catamounts were able to get a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer, but saw the attempt rim out at the horn for a 68-65 GSU victory. The win, combined with Samford's overtime win at Wofford put the Eagles into a tie with the Terriers for second place in the SoCon South.
There were 17 total lead changes in the game with 14 coming in the second half. Western never led by more than six points, but it was the Catamounts who went dry shooting in the final two minutes that helped secure GSU's 10th win of the year.
Georgia Southern returns home on Monday night, February 6th, for a home date with Furman inside Hanner Fieldhouse. The game is part of a doubleheader in Statesboro and starts at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles host Wofford just three nights later on Thursday, February 9th, at 7 p.m.
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- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 04 February 2012 16:53