Jumping out to a 2-0 record is nothing new for the Georgia Southern men's basketball team. They've done it the last four seasons, but this year they have managed to do it against a couple of teams from well known conferences. The Eagles opened the season with an impressive 82-71 win over Ball State from the MAC and then Saturday they shut down AAC member South Florida with a 53-41 win limiting the Bulls to just 26 percent shooting from the field.
“If the score of a game is 13-11, I’d be ecstatic if we had the 13,” said Eagle coach Brian Burg. “If you want to win games in March you have to defend and we certainly did that down in South Florida. We held a high-major opponent to 26 percent and played really well as a group. I am very proud of our team.”
Burg has seen plenty of growth on the team in the last year, but where he feels the Eagles have taken the biggest strides is just playing as a team.
“Our team is becoming even more unselfish on both ends of the court,” said Burg. “They have bought into the identity of collectively getting stops on defense. They are executing the game plan and you can see the growth in maturity as well especially in the way they approach practice. We understand that it is a long season and we are trying to get better every day.
One of the biggest strengths of this year’s team is also their depth. Through the first two games the Eagles played 10 players in both games and had seven different players hit double digits in scoring.
“We have the ability to play 11 or 12 guys any given night,” said Burg. “These guys understand that they have to be ready whenever their name is called. We have seen different guys step up even though it’s only two games into the season when opportunities present themselves, we are seeing the players answer the call.”
With so many different players getting playing time it’s important to have a few Burg can count on for leadership and he feels there are multiple players that give him that on the court.
“The heart and soul of our team is Kamari Brown,” said Burg. “He is a true representative of what we want in a Georgia Southern player. We have also seen other guys step into leadership positions including Elijah McCadden by his actions as he has made a big jump in his game. Kaden Archie has stepped up in leadership by his actions and the maturity he has shown, and Tre Cobbs is a sixth-year player with a ton of experience and has fit right in.”
The Eagles opened the season last week before a crowd of over 2,600 against Ball State and Burg is hoping for another big Hanner Fieldhouse crowd as the Eagles welcome Bob Jones University Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start.
“Any time we have a chance to play at Hanner Fieldhouse out staff and players are excited,” said Burg. We have the best fans in the Sun Belt Conference in my opinion. We can’t thank them enough for showing up against Ball State and we’d love for them to come out Tuesday against Bob Jones.”
“Whether you are playing the first game of the season or the national championship you have to respect your opponent,” said Burg. “This team scored 79 points against Wofford so we know who we are facing. We have a gameplan and a scouting report and we are planning on executing that Tuesday night,”