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Eagles fall just short
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Georgia Southern head Coach Charton "C.Y." Young reacts to a call during the second half against College of Charleston Wednesday at Hanner Fieldhouse. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Georgia Southern brought a slowed-down game plan and ran it to near perfection, but the College of Charleston brought Andrew Goudelock.

The senior Cougars guard and preseason Southern Conference offensive player of the year dropped 27 points and led Charleston to a 65-61 win over the Eagles Wednesday at Hanner Fieldhouse.

Goudelock scored 22 points in the second half.

With the Cougars clinging to a 63-61 lead after a Tre Bussey 3-pointer with 44 seconds to go, Goudelock iced the game with a pair of free throws with five seconds left.

The Eagles (4-19, 0-9 SoCon) never trailed by more than nine and took the lead on two separate occasions in the second half, but after GSU tied the game at 46-46 with 10 minutes to go, Goudelock went on a tear. He scored 13 points in the final 11 minutes.

Though Charleston (15-6, 8-1) shot just 4 of 12 from the 3-point line in the first half, the Eagles were worse, missing 7 of 8 attempts.

Still, GSU scored seven points off of seven Cougars turnovers in the first 20 minutes and trailed 28-22 at the break.

"I think just hanging in there with them despite the fact that we were missing shots," said GSU point guard Ben Drayton, "we told ourselves, ‘Hey, we’re missing shots, but those shots are going to fall.’"

The Eagles finished 4 of 12 from long distance.

Entering the game, GSU coach Charlton Young’s game plan was to limit possessions to limit mistakes, and the Eagles turned over the ball 11 times — down from the season average of 18. They also finished with 27 points off of 19 Charleston turnovers.

"We talked about slowing it down a little bit," Drayton said. "A lot of times we’ll have 22 or 23 turnovers, and it’s because when we’re in transition we try to force plays that aren’t there. After we got the rebound, we tried to slow it down. We cut our turnovers in half. We got better shots, and if we can go from 24 turnovers in one game to 11 in the next, I’m happy."

The Eagles scored just two fast-break points, but did their damage in the paint, where they finished with 32 points.

When the 3s were falling for GSU, it was from the inside-out game. Drayton finished with seven assists and Bussey and Jelani Hewitt each hit a pair from behind the arc.

"That high ball screen has been working for us all year, and I think we just tried to use it to our advantage," said Drayton, "I think I was trying to get in there and if I had a shot I’d take it, but the main thing was to suck in the defense. We’ve got shooters like Jelani and Tre, and I’d just kick it out to them."

Drayton shot 8 of 14 from the floor and led the Eagles with 20 points, and Rory Spencer added 11 in the paint. Hewitt added 10.

Goudelock hit all three 3-point attempts, 10 of 11 free throws and shot 7 of 12 from the floor.

Jeremy Simmons added 10 for the Cougrs.

Georgia Southern will attempt to break a nine-game losing streak when they host Davidson Monday at 7 p.m. in Hanner.

 

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