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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 11:30 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Cellular Center (13,080) -- Asheville, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Georgia Southern 7-6, Wofford 9-3. Away Record: Georgia Southern 5-10, Wofford 3-15. Neutral Record: Georgia Southern 1-1, Wofford 1-0. Conference Record: Georgia Southern 7-11, Wofford 7-11. Series Record: Series is tied, 22-22.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams that put in identical seasons will be matched up in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament Friday at U.S. Cellular Center, when the Georgia Southern Eagles take on the Wofford Terriers.
When the dust settled on the regular season Georgia Southern was 13-18 overall and 7-11 in league action after dropping the regular-season finale against conference leading Davidson. The Eagles are the ninth seed in this year's tournament field as they go in search of their first ever title.
Also finishing the year 13-18 overall and 7-11 was Wofford which was able to earn the higher eighth seed by sweeping the season series with Georgia Southern. The Terriers have a bit of momentum coming into the postseason after having won three of their final four games of the regular season. Wofford won back-to-back titles during the 2010 and 2011 tournaments which are its only crowns.
The most recent matchup between these teams took place in Statesboro where Wofford edged the Eagles, 53-47. The win was the eighth in the last nine meetings for the Terriers who have evened the all-time series at 22 wins apiece.
The winner this time around will move on for a difficult challenge against top-seeded Davidson.
Georgia Southern was just another victim of Davidson's powerful offensive attack in the regular-season finale. The Eagles allowed the Wildcats to shoot a scorching 56.4 percent from the field. The Eagles themselves managed just 14 field goals, while shooting below 30 percent from the field.
Due to its inability to move the ball effectively and shoot at an efficient rate, Georgia Southern hasn't lit up the scoreboard very often. The Eagles rank dead last in the conference in assists (9.9 pg) and rank in the bottom half of the league in points (62.3 pg) and field-goal percentage (.422). Eric Ferguson (13.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is a decent enough lead option as well as the team's top rebounder. Ferguson failed to score in double figures in each of the last two games when he shot just 3-of-18, while he is also scoring nearly two points per game fewer than last season. C.J. Reed (13.3 pg, 3.8 apg) is also a scoring threat, although he shoots just 36.6 percent from the field.
Wofford held off the Citadel for a 69-62 victory in its regular-season finale. The Terriers shot better than 50 percent to take a 13-point lead at halftime and secured the victory in the final 20 minutes by hitting 11-of-13 shots from the free-throw line. Lee Skinner hung up a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double in the victory.
All-SoCon Second-Team selection Karl Cochran (16.0 ppg) and All-SoCon Freshman-Team Spencer Collins (12.5 ppg) have been a handful for opposing teams to deal with out of the backcourt. Each is shooting below 40 percent from the field but still rank within the top 15 scorers in the conference, with Cochran actually third in the league in points per game. Skinner (10.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) provides a scoring option in the frontcourt, with his double- double against the Citadel marking his seventh this year. Even with that trio on the floor the Terriers have been a very low-scoring team, ranking last in the SoCon in scoring (58.5 pg) and field-goal percentage (.394). However the Terriers are a strong defensive unit, holding teams to 59 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting.
This season Wofford just has Georgia Southern's number. If the Terriers can keep up the pressure on defense like they normally do and Cochran, Collins and Skinner find enough ways to score, the Terriers should advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wofford 64, Georgia Southern 56
03/08 10:35:32 ET
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