Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SoCon Monster Game of the Week: Georgia Southern at Wofford

The Terriers and the Eagles collide in a critical SoCon game on Thursday night. The Eagles are just one loss behind the Terriers in the standings. The Terriers are clinging to their third spot in the SoCon race. If the Eagles want to make a real run at the bye, they need to come up with a win in a game like this, even if it is on the road. In the mean time, the Terriers have been playing so much better and they need to rely on their improving offense and their always stout defense to take down the Eagles. This game means a lot to both teams.

The Eagles have a couple of guards that are very good. Jelani Hewitt is one the better players in the league when he is going. He's made 37.7% of his three pointers and is averaging 20.4 points per game, along with 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 4.7 rebounds per game. Hewitt is a solid long range shooter and good at driving the ball. Hewitt can be a special player. He scored 23 and 22 in the two wins last weekend against UNCG and The Citadel.

Tre Bussey is the Eagles other elite scorer. He is averaging 16.8 points per game on the year. The problem is that Bussey is averaging just 10.2 points per game in the last five games. The Eagles have gone just 2-3 in those five games, so Bussey needs to get back to his good scoring ways. Can Bussey get things turned around? This is the time to do it.

The Eagles rank at the bottom of the conference in two point defensive percentage. Opponents are shooting 52% from two point range against them. That's because the Eagles are so short on the interior. Surprisingly, despite their lack of height, the Eagles are 4th in OR% and 5th in DR%. They also get to the line at the second best clip in the conference.

The Terriers have a couple of guards that are very good as well. Karl Cochran leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game. He is making 39.3% of their three point shots. He has 5.3 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He's a good three point shooter. He has developed this year. Last year, he shot 36.1% from the floor. This year, he is shooting 41.6% from the floor. During the Terriers four game winning streak, he is shooting 51.6% from the floor and averaging 21 points per game. He has also shot 52.6% from three point range. If he is going to shoot that well, the Terriers are going to be very difficult to beat.

Spencer Collins has been even better from the floor during the winning streak, shooting 54.8% from the floor and averaging 17.3 points per game. He is averaging 14.0 points per game on the year and shooting 44.7% from the floor. Collins struggles from the floor were smaller than Cochran's, but they are there just the same. During this streak with both Collins and Cochran hot, the Terriers have gotten to be almost unbeatable offensively. Another important player is Lee Skinner. He is the inside presence. He is averaging 10.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

The Terriers have been the best in the conference at not turning the ball over. They are the second best in the league in three point shooting. They are also second best in the conference in two point field goal defense.


This is going to be an all out battle between two teams playing pretty good basketball right now. The Terriers have been so hot offensively, and that is so different from the way Collins and Cochran have played for the last year and a half. Eventually I have to believe that they are going to go cold. If they don't, they may be the favorite in the whole SoCon. That's how good they are. The Eagles are playing good basketball though. I think Georgia Southern is capable of wining this game, even in Spartanburg. In the end, I think the Terriers pull it off mainly because it is at home. This should be a good one. Terriers 74, Eagles 69.

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