The Citadel (3-13, 0-6) at Ga. Southern (8-10, 2-3)
7 p.m., 103.7 FM
The Eagles have won back-to-back games with victories over Davidson on Monday night and a win over College of Charleston on Thursday night. C.J. Reed has led GSU in both contests with 16 and 14 points each night, respectively.
The Citadel (3-13, 0-6 SoCon) is led by senior Mike Groselle. The center is averaging 13.8 points per game with 7.8 rebounds per contest. He scored seven points against Davidson on Thursday night.
Southern Conference Basketball Standings
Team SoCon All
Samford 4-1 6-12
Western Carolina 4-2 7-11
Elon 3-2 10-7
Chattanooga 3-2 8-10
Appalachian St. 3-2 7-9
UNC Greensboro 2-3 4-12
Team SoCon All
Davidson 5-1 10-7
Charleston 4-2 12-6
Ga. Southern 2-3 8-10
Wofford 1-4 7-11
Furman 1-4 4-12
Citadel 0-6 3-13
The Citadel at Georgia Southern, 7 p.m.
Wofford at Elon, 7 p.m.
Charleston at Davidson, 7 p.m.
Western Carolina at Chattanooga, 7 p.m.
Appalachian State at Samford, 8 p.m.
Beating the top two teams in the conference, who are also in your division, seems like a cause for celebration.
Not for Cameron Baskerville.
When the stands emptied after Georgia Southern’s 51-47 win over College of Charleston on Thursday in Hanner Fieldhouse — which followed Monday’s 70-57 win over Southern Conference powerhouse Davidson — Baskerville dragged the ball-return machine under the basket to get some shots. It was after 10 p.m., and the arena was otherwise empty.
“I’m just trying to put work in,” said Baskerville, a senior who was head coach Charlton Young’s first recruit when he took over the program in 2009. “We’re in the zone right now. We won two straight in the conference, but we need to stay at it. Once you win, you can’t just get comfortable. You can’t get cocky. You’ve just got to stay at it.”
Baskerville, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, hasn’t ever been the guy getting the headlines for the Eagles. He’s played in every ballgame this season, averaging a hair under four points and four rebounds per game. But he’s missed only one free throw this season (18 of 19), and besides, as the only four-year player on the team, he’s got to keep all the underclassmen in line.
For him — and the only other senior on the team, Bethune-Cookman transfer C.J. Reed — this is the last shot at, as Young likes to say, “cutting down the nets” and winning a championship.
“I think about it every day, every day,” Baskerville said. “As soon as my senior year started, I was just thinking about cutting those nets down. It started with weights and individuals in the offseason. I keep telling the guys, ‘This is it. Once you’re a senior, that’s it. So you’ve got to give it your all. You’ve got to leave everything on the court every game, every game.’”
Baskerville has been a part of the rebuilding process. He helped the Eagles win a SoCon tournament game for the first time in five years last season. He helped GSU beat an ACC program for the first time — ever — when the Eagles knocked off Virginia Tech on Dec. 15.
And he has one more chance at bringing home GSU’s first-ever SoCon championship and the program’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1992.
“I’m so proud of him,” said Young, who played on the 1992 Georgia Southern team that faced Oklahoma State in the Big Dance, “because he’s the first guy that we signed when we got the job to rebuild Georgia Southern basketball. When we took over, it was almost like starting this program from scratch.”
Baskerville was one of two recruits that first season, along with junior-college transfer Rory Spencer, and the Eagles won only nine games.
The next season, they won five.
“It was tough at first,” Baskerville said. “We struggled but we stayed at it. I had to get used to the speed, and it was tough. I also had to deal with a couple of injuries those first couple of years. Since I got here, CY and the coaches have made me better, off the court and on the court. I’m evolving at this university, as a person and a player.”
Last season, which was also the last for guards Willie Powers and Ben Drayton, saw the Eagle break through with the second-best record in the SoCon (12-6) and a .500 record overall.
Now, it’s Baskerville’s turn to lead.
“I’m the senior,” he said, “It’s up to me to lead and stay at it.”
Baskerville knows the value of support. A sports management major, Baskerville interns with GSU athletics, working on promotions.
Baskerville knows better than most how important it is to pack Hanner Fieldhouse with fans. He admits the fans played a big part in the week’s marquee wins.
“That’s what gets us going,” Baskerville said. “I thank God for them, seriously. If it weren’t for them, to be honest, we wouldn’t be winning these games. We need to execute the game plan, but our fans play a big role as well.”
That doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t win on the road. Baskerville keeps the home crowd in mind whenever the Eagles get on the bus.
“We want to make our fans proud,” he said. “That’s how we think on the road. We want to make Statesboro proud.”
The Eagles have a three-game road trip coming up soon, but fortunately, they get one more in Hanner, where they’re 5-2 this season.
The Citadel comes to town Saturday at 7 p.m., and the Eagles (8-10, 2-3) would even their league record against the struggling Bulldogs (3-13, 0-6), who come to town on the back of a 12-game losing streak.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.