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Eagles hoping to keep on growing

Eagles hoping to keep on growing

Eagles hoping to keep on growing

Georgia Southern guard Jelani Hewitt ...

    It’s no surprise that through two games, the Georgia Southern Eagles have been led by freshmen.
    In the season-opening loss to Notre Dame, wing guard Eric Ferguson led GSU with 26 points in his first-career start, and freshman point guard Jelani Hewitt knocked down 28 as the Eagles (1-1) knocked off Carver College 91-83.
    “It feels good, but you‘ve got to stay hungry, stay humble,” Hewitt said. “Notre Dame was a big-time experience. They had like three or four seniors and, like coach [Charlton Young] said, they taught us how to play. They play the game the right way — making the extra pass, things of that nature — so playing them definitely helped us.”
    The Eagles return to Hanner Fieldhouse tonight at 7 p.m. as they play host to Renhardt. They beat Reinhardt 108-59 to start the 2009-10 season in Young’s first-career game as the Eagles’ head coach, but things are a lot different, now.
    “Reinhardt is going to be better than Carver College,” Young said. “I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’m also expecting us to get better as a group. Every minute that we’re on the court, we’re getting better, getting better, getting better. Our lack of experience is painfully obvious at times. Small things like the ball going through the net and the guy from the other team dribbling the length of the court with nobody picking him up.
    “Things that shouldn’t happen happen because of youth and inexperience. We’ve got to keep putting these kids in the crock pot, so when we get into conference, we’ll be prepared for battle.”
    Hewitt took over in the second half against Carver, scoring 20 of his 28 points in the final half. The Cougars got the score as close as 51-50 with 14:19 remaining in the game.
    “We had to get a little run in,” said Hewitt. “They stayed in the game, so we tried to just attack and keep driving, getting to the foul line and just get into the paint, then kick it out for the open 3. They’ll fall eventually.”
    “Against Notre Dame he wasn’t always doing that,” added Young. “He was making 20-foot passes that were getting stolen. Then, [on Monday], he started attacking, he got to the SoCon logo and pulled up, he got into the paint and made some floaters.”
    Freshman guard Trey Bussey came off the bench to lead the team with four assists, and senior point guard Ben Drayton added three.
    Of GSU’s 91 points against Carver, 56 were scored by true freshmen.
    The story was similar in South Bend, Ind. against Notre Dame, which the Eagles lost 98-61 loss. Drayton and Rory Spencer — the only seniors on the team, combined for 28 points. Freshmen were responsible for 31.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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