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Eagles brace for SoCon opener

Eagles brace for SoCon opener

Eagles brace for SoCon opener


 

Life on the road hasn’t been easy on Georgia Southern.

The Eagles won only once away from Hanner Fieldhouse in the 2009-10 season, an 83-77 win at Samford on February 22, and are 0-5 on the road this season.

To make matters worse, GSU (2-5) saw Cameron Baskerville and Rory Spencer sidelined with injury during last week’s losses to Chicago State and Mississippi Valley State in the South Padre Island Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas.

"It was a rough four-game stretch," said second-year coach Charlton Young. "At least we’ve had a couple days to get home and get ourselves treated. We’ve been pretty banged up, and we basically had to play our last couple games with six scholarship players and three walkons — five freshman and one returner."

It’s been a learning process for a team that has seen a bulk of it’s minutes manned by true freshmen.

"A guy like (guard) Tre Bussey or (forward) Sam Mike probably wouldn’t be playing as much if we had upper classmen in the program," Young said. "They’re having to play as a necessity, and they’re making mistakes. You can get guys better and you can get them to shoot a little better, but you just can’t give them experience until they’ve gone through it."

Georgia Southern will face The Citadel today at 7 p.m. in Charleston, S.C. in the Southern Conference opener for both teams.

It is the first season under head coach Chuck Driesell, but the Bulldogs (1-4) field a veteran team with a roster that lists 10 seniors, most notably point guard Cameron Wells, who enters the contest scoring 20 points per the game and shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

"They have a new coach and a new system, which they’re adjusting to also, but their core is the same," Young said about The Citadel. "It’s going to be a tough test. Those are the same cast of characters that were there last year. I’m sure they’ve gotten better. They’re military guys, they’re well disciplined, they work hard and they play tough."

Young hopes the early SoCon matchups against The Citadel and Saturday’s game will give him a better idea of the progression of the team in the early part of the season.

"We hope that the tough stretch we went through made us better, made us tougher and made us a better basketball team so we can perform better in the conference," Young said. "It definitely serves as a measuring stick."

Though road contests against Notre Dame, Texas Tech and South Florida didn’t end up in the win column, Young feels the Eagles gained valuable experience.

"I feel good about the competition that we’ve faced in that we won’t be intimidated," Young said. "We’ll go in and play hard and give ourselves a chance to win, but (The Citadel is) an experienced bunch with an NBA prospect at the point."

 

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

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