Eagles fall 97-89 in first game of Legends Classic
STATESBORO, Ga. - Junior guard Willie Powers III (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a career-best 27 points and senior guard Antonio Hanson (Ft. Worth, Texas) added 20, but it wasn't enough as Valparaiso came away with the 97-89 win at Hanner Fieldhouse. In the second game of the Legends Classic, the Crusaders had built a 21-point lead at the 13-minute mark of the second half, 44-65, but the combination of the Eagles' pesky press defense and key baskets from Powers and Hanson reduced the margin to six with 2:15 left in the game.
Georgia Southern had a season-high 10 three-pointers with Hanson hitting six. Junior forward Rory Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) went 5-5 from the field in the first half, contributing 14 points to the total.
With nine ties and seven lead changes in the first half, the Eagles and Crusaders appeared set to battle, but Brandon Wood scored seven of Valparaiso's next 10 points to give the Crusaders a 47-39 lead at halftime. Valpo built its lead to 20 off a 17-3 run in the first five minutes of the second stanza. Both teams went without a basket until the 12:36 mark. Two threes and two free throws by Hanson and a three by Ben Drayton III would counter a Crusader layup and dunk to the 8:24 mark. In the next 30 seconds, Hanson hit another three, then stole a pass to feed Powers for a layup to cut the lead to 13.
Hanson and Powers each hit another three and Spencer completed a three-point play to pull the score within eight with just under four minutes left to play. Trading Eagle baskets and Crusader free throws, the lead went back and forth between nine and 11 during the final minute. A final three-pointer by Powers cut the lead back to seven with 15 seconds left, but a final free throw by Wood put the final margin at eight points.
Wood had 39 points to lead all scorers, going 13-18 from the field for the game with three treys and adding 10 points from the foul line. Wood also had the game high in rebounds with nine. Cory Johnson and Ryan Broekhoff each had 14 points with Brandon McPherson finishing with 10.
"We played hard buzzer to buzzer, but there are definitely some things we need to improve defensively," said Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "I'm disappointed that we allowed 71 percent field goal percentage in the second half in our last game and 56 percent for the game tonight. Our press got us back in the game, no question. We're continuing to learn more about our team and each game we are playing now prepares us for conference competition down the road."
Troy dispatched Arkansas-Fort Smith 115-76 behind a season-best 12 three-pointers off 22 attempts in the opening game of the Legends Classic. Overall, the Trojans hit 53.8 percent from the field and forced 24 Lion turnovers. Senior Brandon Hazzard scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half as six Trojans scored in double-figures.
Trojan Antywan Jones set a career high in scoring and hit a career-best three 3-pointers. Bernard Toombs added 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his first career double-double along with career highs in scoring and boards. Up 14 at halftime, 51-37, Troy went on a run mid-way through the second half, 36-9, that gave the Trojans a 43-point margin with just under four minutes remaining.
Arkansas-Fort Smith forward Josh Simmons had 24 points and eight rebounds and guard Jalynn Mitchell had 18 points in the loss.
The Legends Classic Statesboro sub-regional games continue Saturday (November 28) with Troy and Valparaiso meeting in the early game at 3 p.m. and Arkansas-Fort Smith meeting the host Georgia Southern in the 5:30 p.m. contest. The Athletics Ticket windows at Hanner Fieldhouse open at 2 p.m. Tickets for each day are $8 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 3-12), good for both games.
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 28 November 2009 00:18