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Eagles trying to get things going

As the Georgia Southern football team won three-straight playoff games in the past three weeks, second-year GSU men’s basketball coach Charlton Young paid attention.

He’s had his problems on the court. On top of two-game injuries to two of the three returners from the 2009-10 season, Young has had to mix in six true freshmen.

Aside from the youth, Young cites turnovers and lack of execution on offense as the team’s biggest problem, and looks at the football team as an example of a solution.

"I told our guys to learn from our football team what it means to be successful. Be more of a ball-control team," he said. "Our defensive numbers are not good, but a lot of those problems, from a defensive standpoint, are because it’s easy to score when there’s nobody down there. When you turn the ball over and you take quick shots, you won’t even get a chance to defend. That’s been the main problem with our basketball team."

The Eagles (3-7) travel to Cincinnati (8-0) for their third Big East matchup of the season today at 7 p.m.

"The only way to get better is to continue to play those types of programs," said Young, whose Eagles have faced Notre Dame and South Florida out of the Big East this season, as well as Texas Tech from the Big XII. "Every time you play them, you get closer and closer to playing at that level. I think eventually, especially with young guys who have been through some wars, eventually they’re going to be able to say, ‘Okay, we’ve battled through this before. This is how hard we have to play, this is how physical we have to be, this is how unselfish we have to be.’ You take that spirit, and you carry it through the conference."

The Eagles, who are 3-0 at home but haven’t hosted a Division I team yet, topped Brewton-Parker 86-74 Saturday, and Young felt like although it was a small one, the Eagles took a step forward.

"We didn’t play well," he said, "but we showed some confidence and finished. It was a trap game. Everybody was out of town for the big football game — rightfully so — and all the kids were gone after finals. We overcame that, and it’s always better to learn by winning than by losing."

With the end of finals and a win that snapped a six-game losing streak, Young felt like some time to relax at home was just what GSU needed.

"We’re trying to do a better job of managing bodies than we did last season. We want our guys to be rested so they have enough energy to finish," he said. "We’ve been having hard, short practices so we can stay in shape but we don’t beat our bodies down."

The Eagles return home Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to host South Alabama. The game is part of a doubleheader with the women, who host Southern Conference rival Chattanooga at noon.


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