By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Eagles do it again, topple Charleston
DSC 0088
Georgia Southern's Eric Ferguson (3) throws down a dunk off of an alley-oop from C.J. Reed during the second half of the Eagles' win over Charleston Thursday at Hanner Fieldhouse. - photo by NELLA WILLIAMS/GSU New Media


Talk about clutch.

The Georgia Southern Eagles went on an 11-3 run in the final 56 seconds, and for the second-straight game, knocked off the top team in the Southern Conference.

There were 13 lead changes, but a 3-pointer by freshman Cleon Roberts and a massive alley-oop to Eric Ferguson in the final minute – his third dunk of the game – helped GSU power past College of Charleston and win, 51-47, on Thursday in Hanner Fieldhouse.

The Eagles (8-10, 2-3 SoCon) trailed 44-40 with under a minute to go, but on a play kept alive by an offensive rebound from Marvin Baynham, C.J. Reed hit a wide open Roberts, who drained a 3 to cut the Charleston lead to one point.

"And the freshman shall lead them," laughed GSU coach Charlton Young. "How about that?"

"That was big time," added Reed. "I knew he could shoot the ball — he shoots it with the best of them — and I saw him in the corner open, and I knew I had to get him the ball."

On the ensuing inbound, Ferguson and Tre Bussey trapped Charleston’s Andrew Lawrance, and Bussey forced a jump ball to give possession back to GSU.

Reed inbounded to Ferguson, who handed it back to Reed. From the top of the key, Reed threw it up for Ferguson, who slammed it home to put the Cougars (12-6, 4-2) behind for good.

"I told him just to lob it up there, and I was going to go get it," Ferguson said. "It was a good read by the point guard, that’s for sure."

Ferguson then stole it from Lawrence at half court, and Reed later got fouled. He drained both free throws to put GSU up, 47-44.

Lawrence missed a layup on the other end, and Roberts hauled in the rebound, got fouled, and drained his free throws to put GSU ahead, 49-44 with 26.6 seconds left and put the game out of reach.

Roberts scored seven of his 12 points in the final minute.

Lawrence hit a 28-foot 3-pointer on the next Charleston possession, but Roberts hit two more freebies for the final margin.

Neither team was all too interested in scoring in the first half as the game got underway.

The Cougars broke a scoreless tie 2:54 into the game, and the Eagles tied it up with a Bussey layup 1:45 later.

GSU went on a 10-2 run after that, which was emphasized when Reed got a steal and threw it up on the other end for Ferguson to slam home.

All three Ferguson slams came from Reed assists.

The Cougars broke through with a 3-pointer by Lawrence, and an offensive put-back by Willis Hall, which he was pleased with, based on his reaction, to which the crowd happily responded.

After shooting a cool 2 for its first 12, Charleston ended the half on a 9-1 run and took a 20-13 lead into the break. The Eagles shot 25 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

"A lot of our struggles (in the first half) were because of Charleston," Young said. "We couldn’t adapt, because they’re huge, we couldn’t finish at the rim because they’re huge and they’re athletic. Give them credit."

Charleston did much of its scoring on the rebound, with nine early second-chance points. The Cougars out-rebounded GSU, 23-13 in the first half. The Eagles matched Charleston in rebounds over the final 20 minutes.

Reed led GSU with 14 points, and Ferguson finished with 11.

Lawrence led Charleston with a game-high 15 points.

The Eagles play at home for the third-straight game on Saturday against The Citadel, at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Each of Georgia Southern’s 2012 Southern Conference champions were honored at halftime. The football, volleyball, women’s soccer and softball teams were presented with their trophies along with Freedom, GSU’s live bald eagle mascot. … GSU’s 13 first-half points were the fewest in any half this season. … Announced attendance was 1,733.


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