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Irish all over the Eagles in opener

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Irish all over the Eagles in opener

Georgia Southern's Eric Ferguson dribbles against Notre Dame's Scott Martin during the first half Friday in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND  —  In the season opener for both, Georgia Southern struggled from the field early and never recovered in a 98-61 loss at Notre Dame Friday.
    With three starting freshmen, the Eagles (0-1) never led, shot only 21.7 percent in the first half and didn’t hit their first field goal until Eric Ferguson’s offensive rebound and bucket with 11:01 to play in the first half. By then, the Fighting Irish (1-0) led 30-5.
    “This is our first time in the big lights and it showed,” Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young said. “They came out and did what old, savvy, veteran teams are supposed to do to a bunch of young whippersnappers. They’re good.”  
    Georgia Southern shot 33.3 percent in the game.
    On 60.6 percent shooting, Notre Dame led 62-23 at the half, 16 of those points belonging to Ben Hansbrough, who also hit his 1,000th career shot, a 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 12 seconds left in the first half for a 50-14 lead.
    Hansbrough was 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the half and finished the game with a team-high 20 on 7 of 10 shooting.
    “They’ve got assistant coaches playing on the court…Hansbrough, which is unfair,” Young laughed. “The first half, they just cleaned our clocks. I was proud of our intestinal fortitude. I’m excited about building our program and hopefully by February or March we’ll be able to compete in our league.”
    Notre Dame scored 27 points off of 17 Georgia Southern turnovers and led by as many as 44.
    The Eagles’ second field goal didn’t come until the 9:23 mark of the first half, two more of freshman Ferguson’s game-high 26  points. Two of those came on a crowd-rousing alley-oop in the second half.
    Ferguson was 14 of 16 from the free throw line. As a team, Georgia Southern hit 26 of 34 from the line in the game. Rory Spencer had 18 points and seven boards. Ben Drayton, III had 10.
    From behind the arc, the Eagles hit only 3 of 15 attempts.
    The closest the Eagles got was 67-34 on Drayton’s 3-pointer at the 15:14 mark of the second half.
    Jack Cooley had 11 points for the Irish, four of them on two first half dunks, six dunks in the game for the Irish. Tim Abromaitis had 10.

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