GSU prepares for rematch against Wofford College

Photo: Ryan Woodham

Robert Huitt

Payback is the name of the game tonight as the Georgia Southern University men’s basketball team looks to avenge a 64-74 loss to the Wofford College Terriers two weeks ago.

The Terriers (11-10, 6-3 Southern Conference) are riding a four-game winning streak and are stifling opposing offenses in the process. The Terriers have held their last four opponents, including GSU, to an average of 58.5 points per game (ppg) on 39.1 percent shooting.

“They’re the best defensive team in the league, so we knew points were going to be tough to come by,” GSU Head Coach Mark Byington said.

The Eagles have dropped the last three meetings against Wofford, but believe a more patient offensive approach will be pivotal in this matchup.

“We got to value each possession and understand we’re not going to have career-highs,” Byington said. “We got to have more patience and at the same time understand that we can’t give up easy baskets because they’re so tough to score against.”

Junior guard Karl Cochran and sophomore guard Spencer Collins may also present some challenges for the Eagles. Cochran leads the Terriers in scoring at 14.6 ppg with Collins following close behind at 14 ppg.

“Karl Cochran is one of the best guards in the league,” Byington said. “He’s an extremely quick, very explosive scorer. And with Spencer Collins, he’s a guy who can slash to the basket and is a very good-sized wing.”

The duo of Cochran and Collins combined to score 43 points to lift Wofford over GSU on Jan. 23. The Eagles know they have to do a better job containing them this time around.

“Both of them are talented players, talented guards, and it definitely will be a focal point of ours to try to stop those guys,” Byington said.

The Eagles have won consecutive games for the first time since defeating Brewton-Parker College and South Carolina State University on Dec. 4 and Dec. 7, respectively.

Redshirt junior Jelani Hewitt is starting to heat up offensively again after failing to reach the 20-point mark during GSU’s three-game losing streak. He has scored a combined total of 45 points in the last two games.

Freshman forward Kyle Doyle has been showing improvement as the season progresses, especially on the boards. He recorded his second double-double of the season in Saturday’s victory over the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Doyle was named SoCon freshman of the week for his efforts last week.

“I want to keep establishing toughness,” Byington said. “It’s an easy thing to say, but they got to play with toughness, and that’s mental and physical.”

Opening tip is set for 7 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C.