GAME NOTES: The Furman Paladins are set to host the Georgia Southern Eagles tonight in a Southern Conference matchup at Timmons Arena.
Georgia Southern enters the contest looking to build on Saturday's 72-66 win at Western Carolina, which snapped a two-game slide. Tonight's tilt will wrap up a three-game road swing for the Eagles, who will kick off a three-game homestand against Chattanooga on Saturday night.
Furman has had a particularly trying season, although the team has split its last four outings after losing each of its previous six. Most recently, however, the Paladins were on the wrong end of a 63-50 final at Wofford a week ago.
The all-time series between these two schools is deadlocked, 23-23. They'll meet up again in Statesboro, Georgia on Feb. 23.
The Eagles were outworked in back-to-back losses to Citadel and Appalachian State last week, but that was not the case on Saturday as they hustled to loose balls, rotated defensively and executed their halfcourt sets. Eric Ferguson led the way with 18 points, while Cameron Baskerville scored 13 of his career-high 14 points in the first half to provide an early spark. Cleon Roberts chipped in with 13 points, Tre Bussey scored 11, and C.J. Reed (7 pts) dished out a career-best 11 assists. Defensively, the Eagles held WCU leading scorer Trey Sumler to only seven points, less than half of his season average. On the season, Ferguson paces the squad with 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest, while Reed (11.7 ppg) and Bussey (10.4 ppg) are also scoring in double figures.
The Paladins do not have that same type of scoring balance, as only Colin Reddick averages double figures with 12.1 ppg to go along with a team-best 6.1 rebounds. The Paladins are committing nearly 16 turnovers per game (15.8) and are -7.6 in scoring margin on the season. In last Thursday's loss to Wofford, they turned the ball over 20 times and finished with only 50 points. Those 20 miscues led to a 23-9 advantage for the Terriers in points off turnovers. Wofford led 39-35 with just under 12 minutes remaining before going on an 18-4 run to put the game away. Croone led Furman with 14 points in the loss, while Colin Reddick tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. However, that duo also combined for seven of the Paladins' 20 turnovers. Starting guard Bobby Austin had a particularly dreadful night, finishing with no points and six turnovers in 25 minutes.
The Eagles put forth one of their better efforts of the season in their last outing, while the Paladins continued their sloppy play. Look for GSU to claim victory again on the road.
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