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Eagles face another tough test, travel to Davidson
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    Jeff Price has said it all season, and despite his team’s torrid start, he’s sticking to it — everyone in the Southern Conference is gunning for Davidson.
    No doubt, the Wildcats have been at the center of plenty of hype since returning all five starters from last year’s 29-win team that advanced to the NCAA tournament. They also boast the best offense in the league and have the wow-factor in sophomore phenom Stephen Curry.
    “Until somebody overtakes them we are still chasing them, even though we are 2-0 (in SoCon play),” said the Eagle coach, whose squad visits the Wildcats for a 7 p.m. game tonight. “Certainly it’s a game we are able to win if we go in and play well. I think our guys are looking forward to the challenge.”
    The Eagles have gelled quickly this season, putting together a 9-3 record with their only losses coming against Florida, Florida State and Rhode Island. They’re ranked a SoCon-best 16th in this week’s mid-major poll and are eager for their second win at Davidson in 12 tries. GSU’s only triumph at Belk Arena was a one-point victory in February 2000.
    “We are a pretty confident team,” Price said. “Davidson is obviously a very good basketball team inside and out. We’ve got to find an answer for a lot of different things, but I think our team is pretty confident.”
    Senior forward Louis Graham, GSU’s leading scorer with 13.7 points a game, was encouraged by the team’s practice Wednesday before boarding a bus to North Carolina. Following tonight’s matchup, the Eagles head to UNC Greensboro for a 3 p.m. game Saturday (SportSouth).
    So what’s most important for the Eagles heading into these two key conference games?
    Focus and execution, Graham said.  
    “You’ve got to play well,” he said. “You can’t make too many mistakes against these caliber teams. Right now I think our team is focused, and we’ve got to go up there and prove it. Both teams know what we have to do, and it’s all about execution now.”
    Price has been pleased with his team’s performance thus far but feels the Eagles let one slip away in a five-point loss to 25th-ranked Rhode Island in the championship game of a tournament last weekend in Texas. GSU cut a 23-point, first-half deficit to two but couldn’t gain the lead.
    “We can come back and redeem ourselves by beating (Davidson and UNCG),” said Graham.
    Don’t be fooled by the Wildcats’ 4-6 record (2-0 SoCon). They’ve lost by four points to No. 1 UNC, six to No. 8 Duke, 12 to No. 5 UCLA and one to N.C. State.
    “There’s no doubt that starting the New Year we have two of the best teams in the league,” Price said. “We’ve got two extremely tough games on the road, and we will find out what we are made of.”
    The Eagles return home Thursday, Jan. 10, for a 7:30 p.m. game against rival College of Charleston.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.