Charlton Young likes fast-paced basketball.
Unfortunately for the second-year Georgia Southern coach, with a seven-game losing streak on the books, a limited roster with only two upper classmen and an 18.6 turnovers-per-game average, it’s time to slow things down.
“I’m hoping we can try to cut some possessions and use the clock. Basically we want to keep our young decision makers from having to make too many decisions,” said Young. “That’s not how I want to build a program, that’s not who I am as a coach, but for these kids, I’ve got to find a way to win this year.”
The Eagles (4-17, 0-8 Southern Conference) play host to College of Charleston (14-6, 7-1), the league’s top team, today at 7 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse.
On Dec. 4, GSU pressed the Cougars and eventually lost a 92-84 decision in Charleston, S.C., but at this point in the season, Young hoped the team would have matured enough to keep up the pace.
The Eagles are still trying to draw out possessions to limit mistakes and turnovers.
“I thought that we would be able to play this way, and by the beginning of January, we would be turning the corner and making better decisions,” Young said. “Here we are at [the end of January] and we haven’t improved like I’d like. We’ve been improving, but the scoreboard isn’t showing it.”
Charleston is led by shooting guard Andrew Goudelock, who scores 23.4 points per game, but without a true ball-handler running things for the Cougar, Young won’t shy away from the press if he has to.
“I’m going to keep that in the back of my mind,” Young said, “because I think that’s an Achilles Heel of Charleston that we kind of exploited up there.
“They don’t have a true point guard, so we bothered them with our pressure [on Dec. 4], which is bothersome for some people and others it isn’t. We’re at the point with 10 games left that we have to try to play differently.”
Charleston has lost only once in SoCon play — a 91-88 loss at Chattanooga — defeated Tennessee and suffered losses to North Carolina and Clemson by five and seven points respectively, because of its offense.
And it isn’t just one guy.
“They have a ton of shooters,” said Young. “It’s not just Goudelock. I think Donovan Monroe (11.6 ppg) is one of the most underrated players in the country. I think Jeremy Simmons (13.8 ppg) is the best post in our conference. They can play with anybody in the country because they can make shots. On any given night, they can make 13 or 14 3s. When you can do that, you’re a problem.”
Georgia Southern’s two upperclassmen, senior forward and Rory Spencer, score a combined 26.2 points per game. Freshman Eric Ferguson is second on the team in scoring (14 ppg) and rebounds (5.9).
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.