Georgia Southern's First Win Over ACC Foe Highlights SoCon Week of Basketball
Eagles Never Trailed in five-point win over Virginia Tech
Without question, the biggest development on the Southern Conference basketball hardwood yesterday occurred in Blacksburg, Va. where Georgia Southern was able to claim its first-ever win against an ACC member, posting a 78-73 win at Virginia Tech against a Hokies team that had already posted wins over fellow league members Appalachian State and UNC Greensboro.
It also marked the first win for the Eagles against a so-called power conference member since picking up a win over South Carolina in 1992. The Hokies were certainly no power conference pushover either, as the Hokies, who are in their first season under the direction of James Johnson, have been the toast of the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, getting out to an 8-1 start on the campaign.
The Eagles led by as many as 16 points in the final minutes before seeing the Hokies make a late charge in the contest, but the Eagles led from wire-to-wire in getting the five-point win.
Central Florida transfer and former 2010-11 HBCU Player of the Year C.J. Reed enjoyed his best game of his young career in Statesboro, posting 22 points, including going 5-of-9 from beyond the three-point arc in the win.
Another player coming through in a big way for the Eagles on Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum came from freshman phenom Cleon Roberts, who posted a career-high 20 points, including 12 points via the three-point shot on 4-for-8 shooting from downtown.
In the paint, the Eagles would get double-figure scoring efforts from Eric Ferguson and Cameron Baskerville. Ferguson, a candidate for SoCon Player of the Year, posted his 10th-career double-double by scoring 14 points and ripping down 10 boards in the win, while Baskerville added 12 points, including coming up big down the stretch from the charity stripe, where he connected on 6-for-6 foul shots.
The Eagles hit a season-best 11 triples, connecting on 11-for-26 from downtown for a 42.3 percent shooting clip for the game, while connecting on 43.9 percent (25-of-57) of all shots in the win. Meanwhile, the Eagles' stingy defensive efforts held the Hokies below 40 percent (39.7 percent) shooting for the game, including just 22.2 percent from long range, holding the Hokies to just 6-of-27 from long-range.
The Eagles also claimed a 41-38 edge on the boards, which included an impressive 16 boards on the offensive end of the floor.
Virginia Tech, who entered the contest with the nation's leading scorer, in point guard Erick Green, got another big performance on Saturday, as Green posted 28 points in the losing effort, while Jarell Eddie added 21 points.
The Eagles went to the locker room with an eight-point lead (35-27), with 21 of their 35 first-half points coming on seven three-point field goals, connecting on 50 percent (7-for-14) from long range in the opening frame.
The Eagles led by 16 points with 7:55 to play, but Virginia Tech would launch one last furious rally in the game, going on a 12-3 run to cut the Eagles' lead to seven with just under three minutes to play. The Hokies would cut the GSU lead to a trey twice inside the final minute, with the final being on an Eddie triple with 14 seconds remaining, but could get no closer as GSU held on for the historic win.
The win now gives the SoCon a second win over the ACC this season, as College of Charleston knocked off Boston College in the Charleston Classic earlier in the campaign. Georgia Southern's win on Saturday now means the SoCon has beaten teams from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC this season.