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Davidson (21-7) at Georgia Southern (14-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hanner Fieldhouse (4,358) -- Statesboro, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Davidson 13-2, GSU 10-1. Away Record: Davidson 8-5, GSU 4-12. Neutral Record: Davidson 0-0, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: Davidson 15-2, GSU 12-5. Series Record: Davidson leads, 27-6.
GAME NOTES: The top two teams in the Southern Conference South Division will square off tonight at Hanner Fieldhouse to close out the regular season, as the Georgia Southern Eagles host the Davidson Wildcats.
Davidson owns the top overall record in the conference (21-7, 15-2 SoCon) and has already clinched the South Division, as well as the top seed in next week's SoCon Tournament. Still, after breezing through the month of January and the beginning of February, the Wildcats have split their last four contests. But the most recent outing resulted in a thorough 66-45 triumph over Elon Thursday night.
Georgia Southern had a six-game win streak snapped in Thursday's 58-53 setback at College of Charleston. The Eagles sit one game ahead of Wofford for second place in the South and need either a win or a Wofford loss to Furman tonight to earn a first-round bye in next weekend's league tourney in Asheville. Fortunately for the Eagles, they have been a vastly different team at home, winning 10 straight at Hanner Fieldhouse (10-1) compared to a 4-12 road record.
Davidson has won 10 in a row against GSU and owns a commanding 27-6 lead in the head-to-head series. The Wildcats cruised to a 96-74 victory when these teams met in Davidson on January 7th.
A couple of nights ago, Davidson found itself with a four-point halftime lead against a feisty Elon squad that was still mathematically in the hunt for the North Division crown. But things took a drastic turn in the second half, as Davidson held the Phoenix to a mere six field goals (.273) and just 45 points for the game, its second-lowest scoring output of the season. The Wildcats enjoyed a 50-35 rebounding advantage, including a 20-7 edge on the offensive glass. They also forced Elon into 15 turnovers, and turned those miscues into 21 points. It turned out to be a rather easy win for Davidson, despite the starters combining for just 12 points and shooting 37 percent from the floor as a team. Top scorers De'Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen came off the bench -- something they had not done all season long -- and took the game over in the second half. Brooks finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a couple of blocks. Cohen had 11 points and three blocks, while Clint Mann rounded out the team's double-figure scorers with 12 points. Five Wildcats are averaging double figures on the season, led by Brooks with 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Cohen is averaging 13.8 points and 6.6 boards, and that duo's work on the glass has helped the Wildcats to a +6.8 rebounding margin.
Leading the way for Georgia Southern is sophomore and SoCon Player of the Year candidate Eric Ferguson, who ranks in the top-six in the conference in six different categories. The do-it-all sophomore ranks sixth in scoring (14.9 ppg), third in rebounding (7.2 rpg, third in field-goal percentage (.570) and second in steals (41). Ferguson is already closing in on the 1,000-point mark for his young career (775). With three others averaging double figures for GSU, he has not had to carry the scoring load all by himself, and the team has benefited. Ben Drayton (12.1 ppg), Willie Powers (11.2 ppg) and Jelani Hewitt (10.4 ppg) have all made steady contributions on the offensive end of the floor. But on Thursday night, the Eagles were unable to overcome 20 turnovers, as they tallied only nine assists on 22 baskets for the game. After falling behind by as many as 17 in the first half, GSU chipped away at the deficit and eventually claimed a two-point lead with three minutes to play in regulation. However, CofC was able to end regain the lead down the stretch and win it. Powers scored a team-high 17 points in a losing effort, while Drayton added 10 points and five rebounds. GSU held a 34-25 rebounding advantage for the game.
The Eagles have already tied a school record for most SoCon wins in a season, matching the total from 1992-93, the program�s first year in the league. This game may well come down to the fact that they still have something to play for, while Davidson has already locked up the top seed.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Southern 68, Davidson 63
02/25 10:39:36 ET
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