Ben Drayton joined a pretty exclusive group of Eagles Thursday in Chattanooga.
His 24 points put the junior guard into the Georgia Southern 1,000-point club, where he joined his coach, Charlton Young, who ranks 11th all time at GSU with 1,517 career points as a player.
“It’s hard to score 1,000 points in the Division I level,” said Young, the second-year GSU coach. “It’s a testimony to [Drayton’s] ability to show up every day. He’s going to show up at every game and play hard. I’m really proud of him. I’ll definitely tell him before practice [Friday], ‘Welcome to the club.’ There’s not many of us, and I hope he can just continue to develop as a decision maker.”
Drayton, who leads the Eagles (4-20, 0-11 Southern Conference) in scoring with 15.8 points per game, has been the point guard all season in place of injured Willie Powers.
He’s still figuring things out.
“Is he all the way there yet? No,” Young said. “But he just keeps getting closer and closer. Now he’s got to get to the point where he’s disciplined enough to close games. That’s what great guards do. I’m excited about that more than 1,000 points.”
Drayton will lead the Eagles against Samford (11-12, 3-8), which happens to be the last SoCon team the Eagles defeated, today at 1 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse. Since the road win in Birmingham, Ala. on Feb. 22, 2010, GSU has dropped 14-straight conference games.
The Eagles, who play five freshmen and have only two upper classmen, have been shortening the game with longer possessions in order to cut down on mistakes.
“No question we’ve got to cut possessions,” said Young. “We still turned it over 20 times [against Chattanooga Thursday] because of immature plays. The faster the game gets, the worse our decisions get.”
The game will be a part of the sixth-annual “Pack the House in Pink” event, at which fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Phi Mu and Zeta Tau Alpha sororities will decorate Hanner for the day’s events.
“Everybody’s family has been touched in some way or another,” Young said, “so we get really excited about this game, being able to help with this cause.”
Tickets from the 1 p.m. game are good for the Lady Eagles’ matchup today with UNC Greensboro at 5 p.m.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.