Wofford (15-10) at Georgia Southern (11-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hanner Fieldhouse (4,358) -- Statesboro, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Wofford 9-2, GSU 8-1. Away Record: Wofford 5-7, GSU 3-11. Neutral Record: Wofford 1-1, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: Wofford 8-5, GSU 9-4. Series Record: GSU leads, 21-11.
GAME NOTES: The Wofford Terriers take aim at the season sweep of Georgia Southern tonight, as the two are set for a Southern Conference clash at Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro.
Wofford picked up an 88-63 victory when these teams met on January 14 in Spartanburg, although Georgia Southern still leads the all-time series, 21-11.
Ever since reeling off a season-long six-game winning streak, Wofford has lost two in a row in the month of February. Most recently, the Terriers were dismantled by SoCon South Division-leading Davidson on Monday night, 76-54 to drop four games back of the Wildcats in the standings. That game kicked off a stretch that will see the Terriers play five of six on the road, as their chances of leap-frogging Davidson before the start of the SoCon Tournament likely all but vanished with Monday's loss.
Avoiding a third straight setback will certainly not be easy against a Georgia Southern squad that is 8-1 on its home floor this season. That lone loss came against Valparaiso in the season opener, and the Eagles have won three straight and five of their last six overall entering tonight's bout. On Monday night, they returned home from a three-game road trip and topped Furman, 64-57.
Davidson went on a 21-2 first-half run on Monday night to quickly dampen the Terriers' hopes for a key road win. Brad Loesing scored 16 of his team-high 18 points for Wofford in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome such a large early deficit. The Terriers made only seven field goals in the first half (.269) and trailed 32-15 at the break. They seldom attacked the rim, finishing the game without a single point at the free-throw line and only one attempt. Davidson also held a 40-33 rebounding advantage, made 7-of-14 three- pointers, and piled up 15 assists with only six turnovers. Karl Cochran joined Loesing in double figures with 17 points in the loss. Leading scorer Kevin Giltner (15.2 ppg) was held to only four points on 2-of-9 shooting. For the Terriers to have a chance here, they'll need more production from their top offensive threat. Like Giltner, Loesing has started every game so far this season and is second on the team with 14.6 points per game, followed by Cochran with 11.5 ppg. That trio has combined to knock down 156 of the team's 168 threes on the season.
Although the Eagles do not excel at one area in particular, they are shooting a rather solid 47.1 percent from the floor as a team. Four of their starters are averaging double figures, led by Eric Ferguson with 15.4 ppg. Ferguson is shooting 56.8 percent and also ranks third in the conference with 7.2 rebounds per tilt. Ben Drayton (11.8 ppg), Jelani Hewitt (10.9 ppg) and Willie Powers (10.8 ppg) have all made regular contributions in the scoring column. Hewitt is among the top three-point threats in the league, averaging just over two per game at a 42.1 percent clip. The Eagles would like to avoid another slow start like they had on Monday night, as Furman scored the game's first 10 points to quiet the crowd at Hanner Fieldhouse. GSU was able to weather that early storm and went into the locker room tied 34-34 at halftime. In the second half, the Eagles put the game away by shooting 57.1 percent from the floor, although they missed eight of their 12 free-throw attempts in the period. Hewitt paced four players in double figures with 16 points.
These teams are separated by just one game in the SoCon standings, although Georgia Southern has been playing better ball of late. Expect the Eagles to try and generate some early opportunities in the paint to avoid another slow start.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Southern 71, Wofford 67
02/09 10:38:33 ET