January 31, 2012
Don’t look now, but Georgia Southern basketball has won three of its last four — and all four have been high blood-pressure games.
After winning two straight home games over the College of Charleston and The Citadel, Southern began a three-game road swing with a heartbreaking loss at Samford on Thursday. The Eagles had their chances to win the game but just could not get it done.
Down by one with just seconds to play, Jelani Hewitt missed a 3-pointer, and the Bulldogs got the rebound, forcing the Eagles to foul. Samford hit one of two from the line, setting up a last-second opportunity for Georgia Southern to tie it up, but Ben Drayton’s shot rattled out, and the Eagles fell 57-55.
There was little time to dwell on the Samford loss, as the Eagles had to travel to Chattanooga Saturday night. Southern got off to a slow start and trailed by 10 at halftime. After the Eagles cut the deficit to four, the Mocs used a 15-4 run to extend their lead to 18 midway through the second half.
Then, Georgia Southern started chipping away. A combination of hot shooting and defensive pressure allowed the Eagles to come all the way back and take their first lead of the night with just under three minutes left, but Chattanooga fought back and had a two-point lead with under a minute left.
Hewitt hit a long two from the corner to tie it, and the Mocs failed to convert on their next trip down the floor. Georgia Southern got the rebound and pushed the ball up the court, where Willie Powers found Hewitt for a wide-open 3-pointer for the win. This time, he didn’t miss, and the Eagles won 75-72.
The Eagles’ dramatic 18-point comeback improved their record to 9-12 overall and 7-4 in SoCon play. It also should do wonders for this young team’s confidence, as it was just Southern’s second road win of the year. The Eagles will have a full week off before traveling to Western Carolina Saturday, then return home Monday night to host Furman.
On the other hand, the Lady Eagles just can’t seem to get anything going. After winning two in a row and showing some signs of life in SoCon play, the College of Charleston came to Hanner and stole a close one.
Georgia Southern led by four with less than four minutes remaining but went ice cold from that point forward. Charleston ended the game on a 7-0 run and won 47-44. After getting a full week off between Saturday home games, this was a great opportunity for the Lady Eagles to win a third straight conference game and continue working their way up the standings.
Georgia Southern remains in eighth place in the conference, but with nine games left, the ladies still have time to pick up some wins and momentum going into the SoCon tournament.
In football news, Wednesday is National Signing Day, which is kind of like Christmas morning for college football junkies. After months of recruiting, universities across the country will be introducing the student-athletes who have signed a National Letter of Intent to play for their football programs. So, the names we hear on Wednesday will be the names we’ll be hearing at Paulson Stadium over the next four or five years.
Here’s to landing a recruiting class that will help hang some more flags at Paulson.