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Eagles overcome Barons to get win

Eagles overcome Barons to get win

Eagles overcome Barons to get win

Georgia Southern guard Eric Ferguson ...


Everything that Demario Black did, Eric Ferguson and Georgia Southern were just a bit better.

Black led all scorers with 27 points, but Ferguson scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half as the Eagles pulled away late to secure a 86-74 victory and end a six-game losing streak Saturday night at Hanner Fieldhouse.

Also helping Georgia Southern was the return of both Cameron Baskerville and Rory Spencer to the lineup. With both back on the court after being forced out of previous games due to injury, the frontcourt was much more effective.

"That’s a huge boost to get those guys back," said GSU coach Charlton Young. "I liked the way this team fought without them in the lineup, but you could see a difference tonight. Getting Cam and Rory back allowed us to play our game. We might have been in some trouble without them."

Baskerville and Spencer provided the depth, but it was Ferguson who brought the fireworks.

Leading 63-60 midway through the second half, Ferguson grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast. He took flight from just inside of the free throw line for a thunderous dunk that set a 15-4 Eagle run in motion and allowed Georgia Southern to win going away.

"I was just trying to do something to get everyone pumped up," said Ferguson. "I grabbed the rebound and saw that there was a lot of room to get up the court. I pretty much knew that I wanted to finish it off with a dunk."

The one-handed jam seemed to deflate the Barons, and a few turnovers down the stretch allowed the Eagles to stretch their advantage.

"We were trying to get after them hard," said Ferguson. "We had to work to get the lead, so we didn’t want to let up once we got it."

It was rough sledding for Georgia Southern early on.

The Eagles jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but 15 first half turnovers kept the Eagles from adding to the lead and some efficient offense by the Barons quickly got Brewton-Parker going.

The Barons shot 55.5 percent from behind the arc in the first half - including a 3-for-5 performance by Black – and went 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) as a team from the floor.

"We’re not a great defensive team right now," said Young. "But that’s what we’re working towards. We committed some turnovers and gave (Brewton-Parker) some easy baskets, but we settled down in the second half and played our zone well."

Spurred on by their hot shooting, the Barons gained the upper hand midway through the first half and a 7-0 spurt vaulted Brewton-Parker to a 34-27 advantage with just over two minutes to play before halftime.

Finally hitting on some outside shots of their own, the Eagles were able to edge closer before the break.

Bussey and Drayton each drilled 3’s as the first half wound down and GSU clawed within a 36-34 deficit at the half.

"I was just trying to get something going to help my team," said Bussey. "I was feeling pretty good and got some good looks. Luckily, they went down."

The teams battled nip and tuck through the opening minutes of the second half, but armed with its newfound health and depth and the big plays of Ferguson, the Eagles were able to wear down the Barons.

Joining Ferguson in double-digit scoring for the Eagles were Ben Drayton (16 points), Tre Bussey (15) and Rory Spencer (13).

Georgia Southern will try to get another win Tuesday as it travels to Cincinnati for a 7 p.m. tip.


Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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