Georgia Southern Eagles

Grayson Allen, Jake Allsmiller
Associated Press

Freshman Ingram leads No. 7 Duke past Georgia Southern 99-65

Leave a comment

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Freshman Brandon Ingram had season highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 7 Duke beat Georgia Southern 99-65 on Tuesday night.

Grayson Allen added 18 points, Matt Jones had 16 and Derryck Thornton finished with 15 for the Blue Devils (9-1) in their first game without high-energy forward Amile Jefferson. He averages a double-double but is out indefinitely with a right foot injury.

Playing for the first time in 10 days due to final exams, Duke wasn’t always crisp but still had little trouble pulling away for its seventh straight win. The Blue Devils shot 57.6 percent in the second half and held a 55-29 rebounding advantage.

Tookie Brown scored 20 points and Mike Hughes added 14 for Georgia Southern (3-5), which has lost two straight and five of seven.

For Duke, the priority in this one was figuring out the best way to play without Jefferson, who started the first nine games and averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds – including an ACC-best 4.8 on the offensive end.

The easy answer was to lean hard on Ingram and Marshall Plumlee, who finished with a career-best 11 rebounds.

Jefferson watched from the bench in sweats with a hard cast on his foot, and Duke replaced him in the starting lineup with Luke Kennard – a freshman making his first start – and shifted Ingram from small forward to Jefferson’s power forward spot.

The Blue Devils led for all but about 30 seconds and began to pull away during the final minute of the first half. Jones hit a free throw with 32.2 seconds left before Chase Jeter grabbed his miss and Thornton hit a 3 from the corner just before the buzzer to put Duke up 47-32 at halftime.

Plumlee opened the second half with a stickback dunk, and Ingram followed with a steal and a fast-break dunk through contact. After Ingram swished a 3 two possessions later to make it a 20-point game, Duke was well on its way to another easy win.

TIP-INS

Georgia Southern: The Eagles were playing a ranked team for the first time since 2008, when then-No. 8 Duke beat them 97-54.

Duke: The trickle-down of Jefferson’s absence led to more significant playing time for Jeter, a 6-foot-10 freshman who occupied the last spot in the seven-man rotation. He had two points while playing a season-high 17 minutes.

UP NEXT

Georgia Southern plays host to Winthrop on Saturday.

Duke plays Utah on Saturday in New York.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

2014-2015 Season Preview: Georgia State is the heavy-favorite in the Sun Belt again

Shawn Long (Getty Images)
Leave a comment
source:
R.J. Hunter (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The power in the Sun Belt will once again lie in Atlanta. In 2013-2014, during just their second season in the conference, Georgia State steam-rolled through the regular season. They went 17-1 in league play and had the look of a program that was going to give some high seed nightmares. That was until they ran into Louisiana in the Sun Belt title game, blowing a nine-point lead in the final three minutes before losing in overtime.

The Panthers are looking for redemption this season, and they bring back enough talent that they should be the overwhelming favorites to get it. Ryan Harrow, who a former top 40 recruit that played at both N.C. State and Kentucky, starred for the Panthers last year. He’ll be joined in the back court by former top 50 recruit and Louisville guard Kevin Ware this season. Oh, and the best player on the team is sharpshooter R.J. Hunter. Georgia State is loaded. Period.

source:
Shawn Long (Getty Images)

Their biggest challenger will likely be Louisiana once again. That’s because the Ragin’ Cajuns have another future NBA draft pick on their roster. Shawn Long may not be a top ten pick like Elfrid Payton was, but he is a 6-foot-10 big man that blocks a lot of shots, averaged 18.6 points and can hit threes. Oklahoma State transfer Brian Williams will provide a jolt of athleticism and toughness on the wing, but the x-factor will end up being Xavian Rimmer, a senior guard that played his best basketball late in the season and during the Sun Belt tournament.

Those two teams are probably a cut above the rest of the conference, but there are some capable teams in the league. Georgia Southern will be one to keep an eye on. There are a couple question marks — namely, how will GSU adjust to a new conference and just how long Eric Ferguson will be suspended for his offseason legal troubles — but if all goes according to plan, the Eagles return star guard Jelani Hewitt and get back a pair of former all-Southern Conference big men (Ferguson and Trent Wiedeman) who redshirted last season.

Arkansas-Little Rock loses Will Neighbour but they bring back Josh Hagins, James White and a healthy J.T. Thomas. Louisiana-Monroe loses a couple of starters, but they bring by all-league forward Tylor Ongwae. Losing a guy that averages 20 points isn’t easy to overcome, but UT Arlington‘s offense should be more balanced without Reger Dowell. Their senior back court of Lonnie McClanahan and Jamel Outler will be tough. Arkansas State lost seven of their top eight from last season. John Brady better home those new guys are ready to compete from day one.

REALIGNMENT MOVES

In: Georgia Southern, Appalachian State
Out: Western Kentucky

PRESEASON SUN BELT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: R.J. Hunter, Georgia State

The Sun Belt has had quite a bit of individual talent in the league over the last year or two, but Hunter is as good as any of them. That includes lottery pick Elfrid Payton. Hunter is a 6-foot-5 off-guard that is one of the best shooters in the country and capable of putting 30 on anyone.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT TEAM:

  • Ryan Harrow, Georgia State, Sr.: Harrow thrived last season after transferring into the program from Kentucky, playing the role of point guard alongside Hunter.
  • Shawn Long, Louisiana, Jr.: Long is not only a very good college player, his ability to block shots and hit threes will get him NBA attention
  • Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern, Sr.: Hewitt was a big-time scorer in the SoCon for GSU last season, and his production should translate to the Sun Belt as well.
  • Tylor Ongwae, Louisiana-Monroe, Sr.: Ongwae, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 16.2 points in his first season with ULM after transferring into the program from a JuCo.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @SunBelt

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Georgia State
2. Louisiana
3. Georgia Southern
4. Arkansas Little-Rock
5. Louisiana-Monroe
6. UT Arlington
7. Arkansas State
8. Texas State
9. South Alabama
10. Troy
11. Appalachian State

Report: Georgia Southern forward Eric Ferguson suspended indefinitely following arrest

(Georgia Southern)
Leave a comment

Georgia Southern redshirt senior forward Eric Ferguson has been suspended indefinitely following a recent arrest with roommate and former teammate Brian Holmes.

According to a report from Donald Heath of the Savannah Morning News, the 6-foot-8 Ferguson and Holmes were arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of schedule II and schedule III drugs (prescription pills), possession of a firearm and possession/use of a drug-related object.

The details of the arrest were released by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department on its website last week.

After spending time on vacation with his family last week, Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein came back and suspended Ferguson indefinitely. Kleinlein noted that Ferguson is still allowed to attend class and use school facilities to rehab his back. Ferguson missed last season with the back injury after averaging 15.4 points per game as a sophomore.

“Right now, (Ferguson) is not part of the team,” Kleinlein said in the report. “For me, it comes down to letting the legal process take (care) of itself and then I can make a better decision but for now, I can’t have him part of our program. That’s what happens when you make poor decisions.”

Georgia Southern joins the Sun Belt this year and the loss of Ferguson is a big one. As a sophomore the 6-foot-8 forward was an All-Southern Conference selection and the Eagles have some talent around Ferguson as well.

College of Charleston transfer forward Trent Wiedeman sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules but was also an All-Southern Conference performer earlier in his career as he averaged 12.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Point guard Jelani Hewitt also returns after averaging 19.4 points per game last season and also earning all-league honors.

Those three would have given Georgia Southern some pieces to work with entering this season, but the loss of Ferguson could be tough to handle for the Eagles.

Georgia Southern forward Eric Ferguson arrested on drug, weapons charges

Ga Southern Virginia Tech Basketball
Leave a comment

Georgia Southern redshirt senior forward Eric Ferguson, who sat out all of last season after undergoing knee surgery in the spring of 2013, was one of two people arrested on various drug and weapons charges according to Jason Wermers of the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald.

Ferguson and Brian Holmes, who completed his two-year career at Georgia Southern this spring, were charged with the following offenses: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a schedule II drug, possession of a schedule III drug, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession/use of a drug-related object according to the report.

…the Statesboro-Bulloch Crime Suppression Team obtained the warrant and searched an apartment at 111 South on Rucker Lane on June 26, Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said in a news release issued Wednesday.

The search was performed after officers received complaints of “drug transactions” from the apartment, Anderson said. During the search, investigators recovered marijuana, various controlled prescription drugs and an “AR-15 style rifle,” the sheriff said.

As a junior Ferguson posted averages of 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, shooting 47.8% from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc. With the Eagles returning leading scorer Jelani Hewitt (19.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg) and adding College of Charleston transfer Trent Wiedeman (he sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules), the return of Ferguson would be a welcome bonus for a program playing its first season in the Sun Belt.

However with this current legal issue it remains to be seen what head coach Mark Byington and athletic director Tom Kleinlein do with Ferguson. SID Barrett Gilham is quoted in the story as saying that Kleinlein wants to have a conversation with Ferguson before taking action.

2014 Southern Conference Tournament Preview: One last hurrah for Davidson?

mckillop
Leave a comment

source: Getty Images

During the preseason the expectation of many was that the Southern Conference race would provide suspense throughout the season, with at least five teams having realistic hopes of winning the regular season title. Ultimately this would not be the case, with perennial juggernaut Davidson winning the league title by three games. However the Wildcats, who will move to the Atlantic 10 in July, won’t lack for challengers in Asheville. Chattanooga won 12 league games in Will Wade’s first season, and three other teams won at least 10 conference games.

(MORE: Browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

When: March 7-10

Where: U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, N.C.

Final: Monday, March 10 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Favorite: Davidson

Bob McKillop’s Wildcats lost just one conference game: an 87-85 overtime decision to Elon back on January 16. De’Mon Brooks, the coaches’ choice for SoCon POY, and company were dominant in conference play as they led the SoCon in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, field goal percentage defense and both offensive and defensive efficiency (conference games only). And from a rebounding standpoint the Wildcats led the conference in defensive rebounding percentage; very rarely will this group beat itself. The starting five is experienced, and with four players (including Brooks) scoring in double figures Davidson is a difficult team to defend.

And if they lose?: Wofford

After losing three of their first five conference games (two of the losses came against Chattanooga) the Terriers have gone 9-2, and in conference play they’re second in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Guard Karl Cochran (15.2 ppg, 3.1 apg) and forward Lee Skinner (11.1, 8.6 rpg) have led the way offensively for a group that plays slower than any team in the SoCon.

Sleepers:

  • Chattanooga: Will Wade’s Mocs won their first eight conference games, and in forward Z Mason they’ve got one of the SoCon’s best players.
  • Western Carolina: The Catamounts are led by guard Trey Sumler, but they’ll need to defend better than they did in losses to Chattanooga (83 points allowed) and Samford (93) last week.
  • Elon: The Phoenix were the preseason pick of some to win the SoCon, and with five seniors they certainly don’t lack for experience.

Studs:

  • DeMon Brooks, Davidson: SoCon POY, Brooks averages 18.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on the league’s best team.
  • Z Mason, Chattanooga: In addition to averaging 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game Mason also swatted three shots per contest, winning SoCon Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Trey Sumler, Western Carolina: Sumler’s averaging 17.9 points and 4.4 assists per game for the Catamounts, leading the conference in the latter statistic.
  • Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern: Hewitt led the SoCon in scoring with an average of 20.0 points per game, and his first round matchup with Furman’s Stephen Croone (19.3 ppg) won’t lack for entertainment.

CBT Prediction: Davidson beats Wofford in the title game.

2013-2014 Southern Conference Preview: Can Elon unseat reigning champ Davidson?

Matt Matheny
Leave a comment
source:
AP

All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

When the realignment dominoes began tumbling the general consensus was that it would take a lot to impact the leagues that don’t sponsor FBS football. That assumption ended up being misguided, and the Southern Conference is an example of this. The College of Charleston is now in the CAA and four more schools, including Davidson, will leave at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.

But that won’t have an impact on the conference race this season, one that should be hotly contested. When discussing the SoCon, Bob McKillop’s Davidson squad has to be mentioned, but the Wildcats do have some key personnel losses to address. De’Mon Brooks, the team’s lone returning double-digit scorer, will be asked to lead the way and Miami-Ohio transfer Brian Sullivan should also have an impact after sitting out last season.

Even with the standard of excellence established by Davidson, the Wildcats aren’t seen as the favorites in the SoCon this season. Why? Because an Elon squad that won 21 games last season returns all five starters, including senior guard Jack Isenbarger. Add in forwards Ryley Beaumont (11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Lucas Troutman (15.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and head coach Matt Matheny has a team more than ready to grab the league’s top spot.

Another program with the pieces needed to challenge for SoCon supremacy is Western Carolina, which returns its top five scorers from a season ago including the prolific Trey Sumler. But whether or not the Catamounts make a run at the title will depend upon their front court, with WCU finishing last season 11th in the SoCon in defensive rebounding percentage. Other teams with the potential to factor into the equation are Appalachian State, Samford and Wofford, with all three returning at least four starters from last season.

REALIGNMENT MOVES

In: None
Out: College of Charleston (CAA)

PRESEASON SOUTHERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: G Trey Sumler (Western Carolina)

Sumler averaged 18.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game as a redshirt junior, posting a solid offensive rating of 111.0. Sumler failed to reach double figures in points just three times last season, scoring a season-high 32 in a loss at Elon in late-January. Given his ability to put points on the board, look for the fifth-year season to take home SoCon Player of the Year honors.

FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW:

  • F De’Mon Brooks (Davidson): With Jake Cohen gone the Wildcats will need even more from Brooks (13.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg).
  • G Jack Isenbarger (Elon): The versatile Isenbarger (13.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg) leads the way for the preseason favorites.
  • F Kyle Cain (UNC Greensboro): The Arizona State transfer possesses the tools needed to have an immediate impact after sitting out last season.
  • G Raijon Kelly (Samford): Kelly (14.1 ppg, 4.7 apg) is one reason why the Bulldogs should be much-improved in 2013-14.

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Elon
2. Davidson
3. Western Carolina
4. Appalachian State
5. Wofford
6. Samford
7. Chattanooga
8. UNC Greensboro
9. Furman
10. Georgia Southern
11. The Citadel