By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Eagles fall to No. 25 Rhode Island
Late GSU comeback effort falls short as URI holds on for tough 85-80 win
GSU 5 col COL
Georgia Southern guard Julian Allen, left, and Rhode Island forward Jason Francis grapple with a rebound Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007, during the championship game of the 2007 Islanders Invitational basketball game at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. - photo by Associated Press
    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 23-point deficit was too much to overcome as the Georgia Southern men’s basketball team fell 85-80 to No. 25 Rhode Island Saturday in the championship game of the Flint Hills Resources/Islander Invitational hosted by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
    GSU fell to 9-3 on the season while URI won its eighth in a row to improve to 13-1.
    The Eagles rallied to get within two points on three occasions but were unable to overtake the Rams.
    “You can’t dig a hole like we did in the first half against a team that good,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “It’s unfortunate we were down by that many and end up losing the game. We cut it to two and lost an awfully close game. We dug a hole too early.”
    URI’s Will Daniels led all scorers with 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He paced five Rams in double-figures, including Lamonte Ulmer who notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
    Senior Matthew Fields tallied a career-high 18 points for Georgia Southern. Junior Julian Allen recorded his first- career double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Senior Dwayne Foreman had 12 points and seven assists and senior Louis Graham  added 12 points.
    After Allen started the scoring at the 18:31 mark, Rhode Island went on a 29-4 run, holding Georgia Southern scoreless for 7:56. The Rams reeled off 17 straight points before the Eagles finally snapped the string with 7:35 to go in the first half.
    “We didn’t make shots,” said Price on the early struggles. “We had really good looks at the basket and missed shots we normally don’t miss. It’s hard when you miss easy shots like that to keep your team mentally focused and tough  when you’re just missing so many shots. We didn’t get enough second shots. When you’re missing that many there are that many opportunities to get seconds — we didn’t get enough seconds.”
    GSU shot just 36.1 percent in the first half and went 2-for-11 from behind the 3-point line.
    In the second half, the Eagles cut the margin to single-digits with 14:49 to play and down to five 1:27 later, but the Rams quickly responded with a 7-2 run to get back up 10.
    With URI holding an 11-point lead, back-to-back 3’s from Foreman and Graham kick-started an 11-2 rally to close to 72-70.
    “We just attacked the basket a lot more, we were a lot more aggressive and we started making shots,” said Price. “When you make shots, your confidence is up.”
    But after Fields hit a lay-up with 5:30 to go to complete the run, the Eagles did not hit another field goal until sophomore Antoine Johnson’s (Atlanta, Ga.) tip-in with 1.5 seconds left in the contest. GSU grabbed eight offensive rebounds during that stretch but was unable to find the rim.
    Georgia Southern does not play again until 2008, continuing conference play on Jan. 3 at Davidson.
    The game will be available on the radio at 102.9 FM. The following Saturday, Jan. 5, the Eagles host UNC Greensboro. That game will be on the radio as well as on television on Sportsouth.