GAME NOTES: The red-hot College of Charleston Cougars pay a visit to Hanner Fieldhouse to take on the Georgia Southern Eagles in Southern Conference play.
Charleston has emerged victorious in seven of its last eight outings to move to the front of the pack in the SoCon standings. The Cougars have been road warriors, winning all six of their games played in unfriendly confines this season. Most recently, they traveled to The Citadel on Monday night and came away with a 73-69 triumph.
Things have not gone so well for Georgia Southern, although the team did snap a three-game slide on Monday by beating Davidson, 70-57. Tonight's contest is the second in a three-game homestand for the Eagles. Following this tilt, they'll host Citadel on Saturday before hitting the road for three straight.
Charleston has won nine of the last 10 head-to-head meetings and leads the all-time series, 27-18.
The Cougars trailed Citadel 57-50 with 10 minutes to play in Monday's matchup, but they answered with an 8-0 run -- highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore Anthony Stitt -- to regain the lead. CofC came up with some key buckets down the stretch to seal the victory. Andrew Lawrence had a game-high 21 points in the victory, while Adjehi Baru notched his third straight double- double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Stitt finished with 14 points and accounted for four of the team's nine 3-pointers. On the season, Lawrence paces the squad with 13.9 ppg. Stitt (11.9 ppg) and Lawrence have combined to sink more than half of the Cougars' threes, while Baru is averaging 10.4 points and a team-best 9.2 rebounds.
For GSU, Eric Ferguson leads the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), rebounding (7.6 rpg), blocks (1.2 bpg) and steals (1.5 spg). C.J. Reed (11.5 ppg) is the Eagles' most dangerous shooter from the perimeter, where he is shooting at a 43.6-percent clip. Tre Bussey rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.9 ppg. Rebounding has been an issue for the Eagles (-3.3 margin), and they'll face a tough test tonight trying to match up with Baru in the paint. Against Davidson earlier this week, GSU shot better from 50 percent from the floor in each half and never trailed. Reed led the way with 16 points, followed by Ferguson and Marvin Baynham with 14 and 10 points, respectively. The victory snapped an 11-game skid against Davidson and handed the Wildcats their first league loss in 2012-13.
Georgia Southern has certainly had its ups and downs, but the team put forth one of its best performances of the season the last time it took the floor. Can the Eagles build on that momentum against a Charleston squad that had to scratch and claw to pull out a win against Citadel?