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Hewitt's 32 not enough

Hewitt's 32 not enough

Hewitt's 32 not enough

After scoring 10 of Georgia Southern'...


    Jelani Hewitt was the best player on the court.
    It just wasn’t nearly enough.
    Hewitt matched his career high with 32 points, but Davidson had four players reach double figures and the Wildcats beat Georgia Southern 88-73 on Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse.
    The Eagles (11-16, 4-8 Southern Conference) trailed by 13 at the break, but Hewitt — who paced GSU with 11 in the first half — came out of the gate on fire by scoring 10 of the Eagles’ first 12 points over 3 minutes, 11 seconds and single-handedly closed the gap to 49-44.
    Then, he was whistled for a pair of back-to-back fouls, bringing his tally to three, and took a seat on the bench.
    “That kind of affected us. I had it going on offense, and my teammates were riding through me. It definitely affected the game,” Hewitt said. “I’ve got to be more heady, I’ve got to be smart and not get those fouls.”
    Davidson (15-11, 11-1) used the break in GSU’s momentum for a run of its own, highlighted with 3s by Brian Sullivan and Jack Gibbs. Just 2:09 later, when Hewitt returned to the floor and immediately drilled another 3, the Wildcats led 59-50.
    The Eagles also saw Marvin Baynham and Sam Mike pick up two first-half fouls which had an affect on the frontcourt. Forward Kyle Doyle missed the game with a concussion.
    “Battling foul trouble all night was difficult,” GSU coach Mark Byington said. “We had a thin bench without having Kyle. Sometimes you’re dealt circumstances and other guys have to make plays, and foul trouble handcuffed us at times.”
    Hewitt was unconscious from the floor all afternoon, making 11 of his 17 shots including 6 of 9 3-point attempts. He also grabbed 8 rebounds.
    “He got into a spurt there where he was so hot the basket must’ve looked huge for him,” Byington said.
    Sullivan did everything he could to match Hewitt’s effort, leading Davidson with 25 points and hitting five 3s of his own, and Tom Droney (14 points), De’Mon Brooks (13) and Chris Czerapowicz (11) rounded out the bulk of the Wildcats’ scoring.
    Davidson shot 55 percent from the floor and made 11 3-pointers.
    Brooks, Davidson’s top scorer, got into foul trouble midway through the opening period and was limited to just 4 first-half points.
    Davidson didn’t miss a beat. The Eagles took their only lead of the game — 5-4 on a Curtis Diamond 3 — before the Wildcats went on a 16-4 run that included Sullivan’s first two 3s.
    The Eagles went cold again before halftime as DC closed with a 17-7 run and led 45-32 at the break.
    Georgia Southern, the worst free-throw shooting team in the SoCon, hurt itself from the line again, making only 15 of 25 tries.
    “We can’t be a team that gets behind and puts so much pressure on ourselves,” Byington said. “We’ve got to make layups and we’ve got to make free throws.”
    The Eagles had one of their better games from the floor, shooting 50 percent both from the floor and from 3-point land (10 of 20). Brian Holmes scored 11 points and Tre Bussey added 10.
    “Obviously Jelani was hot tonight, but I thought overall as a team we got better shots tonight,” Byington said. “We shared the ball, had some patience and maybe did some things we haven’t done well the last couple of games.”
    Davidson, winner of eight straight, continued its dominance over GSU, winning for the 15th time in 16 tries and improving to 32-7 all-time in the series.
Georgia Southern is back in action on Thursday with a trip to Chattanooga at 7 p.m.
    The Mocs stand at second place in the SoCon behind Davidson. It will be the only matchup between UTC and the Eagles during the regular season.

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

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