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Eagles searching for marquee win

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Eagles searching for marquee win

    Charlton Young’s Georgia Southern Eagles have gotten close to getting that first high-major win.
    Over the last two years, GSU has been within 10 points of Wake Forest and Auburn (twice, once in overtime).
    Saturday at 7 p.m., the Eagles (2-2) will get another shot at a marquee win, as they face Maryland at 7 p.m., in College Park, Md.
    “We’ve got to get over the hump and knock some people off,” Young said. “You’ve got to get the first one to fall.”
    The Eagles are sick of being a team known for just putting up a fight against major programs.
    “We’ve got to change our perception as a program,” Young said. “We’ve got Virginia Tech and UAB after this, and people will say, ‘Those are games you’re not supposed to win.’ Last year, against Wake Forest and Auburn, we didn’t finish the deal, but we didn’t look like we weren’t supposed to be there. I think people are starting to expect the Eagles to be in the fight. They’ve got to start expecting the Eagles to win.”
    Young looks at Charlotte, a team that defeated GSU, 66-53, on Nov. 13, as a mid-major version of Maryland. 
    “The Charlotte game is kind of going to prepare us for Maryland — big and physical, but by an exponent of about three,” Young said. “It’s going to be a tough game. They have four guys averaging around 6-foot-11. They’re very well coached. They’re a legitimate ACC program.”
    On paper, it will be a classic matchup of quickness versus size.
    “We’ve got to make them take quick shots,” Young said, “change our pressure and be disciplined about it.”
    Young wants to make sure the logo on Maryland’s court and the name on the jerseys isn’t a factor when the Eagles take the court.
    “When you go in and you’re committed to what you do, you can beat anybody. That’s what our staff is trying to instill in these kids,” Young said. “We’re Georgia Southern and we don’t care if you’re an ACC team or a Conference USA team or an SEC team. We’re going to do what we do and give ourselves a chance to win.”
    After season-opening losses to Valparaiso and Charlotte, the Eagles have won two straight, a, 87-54 win over NAIA Webber International in the home opener and a 62-46 win at Kennesaw State.
    The win at KSU was somewhat of a milestone for GSU. It was the first road, non-conference win for the program since the Eagles beat Houston, 65-63, on Nov. 10, 2008, a win that was vacated after NCAA sanctions were placed on GSU under former head coach Jeff Price.
    The Eagles are led by junior Eric Ferguson, who is averaging nearly a double-double with 13.8 points and 8 rebounds per game.
    Freshman Cleon Roberts has been a pleasant surprise, averaging 13.5 points. He has drained 8 of 15 3 pointers.
    Guards Tre Bussey (6 of 16) and C.J. Reed (6 of 11) are both above 40 percent from beyond the arc.
    Maryland is led by 7-foot-1 center Alex Len, who scores 17 points per game and grabs 8 rebounds each time out.

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

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