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Samford smothers GSU in Hanner

Samford smothers GSU in Hanner

Samford smothers GSU in Hanner

Georgia Southern guard Anna Claire Kn...


    When you play a team that allows only 54 points per game, you’ve got to take what they give you.
    Georgia Southern missed all its opportunities.
    The Eagles shot 25 percent from the floor against Samford’s smothering defense and the Bulldogs won 58-43 on Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse.
    “Some of the credit goes to Samford’s defense,” GSU coach Chris Vozab said. “They were so solid defensively. I thought they did a good job jamming our cutters and not allowing us to get deep inside position. I didn’t think we did a great job of playing through contact. We didn’t play to finish.”
    GSU (7-14, 5-5) never found a way to get things going, while Samford (6-15, 4-6 Southern Conference) shot 40 percent and 44 percent from 3-point range.
    “They’re good shooters when they’re contested, and they’re great shooters when they’re not contested,” Vozab said.
    Samford took its largest lead when Clara Young drilled a 3 to put the Eagles down 51-32 with 4 minutes to go. Young scored 16 points. Samford was led by Kassidy Blevins, whose 21 points, six rebounds and two blocks all remarkably came in the first half.
    “When you play the Princeton offense you can’t have any letdowns,” Vozab said about Samford’s scheme. “You need to be alert the entire possession. We had times in the first half where we missed an assignment and gave Blevins too much of a cushion.”
    Georgia Southern saw MiMi DuBose do most of the scoring with 14 points, Anna Claire Knight added 10 and Briana Jones added 9. Only five Eagles found the scoring sheet.
    Samford pulled away midway through the first half, going on a 15-2 run that was aided by four GSU turnovers and five consecutive missed shots by the Eagles.
    “They did a good job of sending us east-west and we forced things,” Vozab said. “That hurt us. Just too many empty possessions.”
    Knight, who missed six of her first seven attempts from the floor, shot her way out of it, hitting a pair of 3s and a free throw that cut Samford’s advantage to 23-19.
    The final 3 minutes of the half didn’t go the Eagles’ way. Samford closed the half on an 11-0 run, capped by a Blevins 3 just before the buzzer.
    Blevins was absolutely unstoppable in the first half, hitting 5 of her 6 3-point attempts and scoring 21 points on the way to a 34-19 Samford lead at the break.
    The runs went back and forth as GSU went scoreless for the game’s first 4 minutes, but a DuBose 3 sparked a 7-0 run.
    Samford out-rebounded GSU 46-35
NOTES: DuBose was presented with a commemorative ball before the game. With four 3-pointers in GSU’s Jan. 27 win at Appalachian State, DuBose became the all-time 3-point shooter in program history. She hit two in Saturday’s game, leaving her career total at 173. … Brittany Benzio, who spent most of the season recovering from injury, returned to action on Jan. 27 and played in her second game of the season on Saturday.

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

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