The Southern Conference announced its December athletes of the month for men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling Thursday, highlighting excellence among student-athletes during the month.
Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern, Jr., F
Georgia Southern forward Eric Ferguson averaged 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest in seven December games, helping the Eagles to a 4-3 record in the month. The Statesboro, Ga., native shot 59.4 percent (41-for-69) from the floor, including a 6-for-11 mark (54.5 percent) from 3-point range. Ferguson scored in double figures in six December contests, bookending the month with a pair of 20-point performances. The junior had 23 points against Samford on Dec. 1 and scored 24 in an overtime win over Georgia State on Dec. 29. Ferguson had six points in the final 90 seconds of regulation against the Panthers, including a 3-pointer to send the game to an extra session, as the Eagles rallied from 10 down in the final two minutes of regulation. Ferguson also recorded his third double-double of the season in December, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in GSU’s 78-73 win over Virginia Tech on Dec. 15. Other nominees: Nathan Healy (Appalachian State), Anthony Stitt (College of Charleston), Mike Groselle (The Citadel), De’Mon Brooks (Davidson), Jack Isenbarger (Elon), Trevis Simpson (UNCG), Raijon Kelly (Samford), Z. Mason (Chattanooga), Trey Sumler (Western Carolina) and Karl Cochran (Wofford).
Ashlen Dewart, Chattanooga, R-Jr., F
Chattanooga forward Ashlen Dewart averaged 18.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest in four December games, helping the Lady Mocs to a 3-1 record. UTC opened the month with an 83-40 win over Furman on Dec. 1 in which Dewart scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds. The redshirt junior from Spartanburg, S.C., scored 19 points and had eight boards a week later as the Lady Mocs downed Alabama 72-58 for their second win over an SEC opponent this season. On Dec. 12, Dewart just missed a double-double, scoring 22 points to go with nine rebounds, both game highs, in Chattanooga’s 72-59 win over Jacksonville State. Dewart scored a team-best 13 points in Chattanooga’s lone loss of the month, a 53-40 setback at Auburn. For the month, Dewart shot a sizzling 64 percent from the floor (32-for-50) and was 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from the free throw line. She played 27.8 minutes per contest and had just seven turnovers in the month. Other nominees: Maryah Sydnor (Appalachian State), Latisha Harris (College of Charleston), Sophia Aleksandravicius (Davidson), Kelsey Evans (Elon), Shelby Campbell (Samford) and Daniella Motley (Wofford).
Ugi Khishignyam, The Citadel, R-Fr., 141 pounds
The Citadel’s Ugi Khishignyam was nearly flawless in December, going 10-1 overall and 1-0 in Southern Conference action at 141 pounds. Khishignyam’s lone loss in the month came to No. 17 Evan Henderson of North Carolina, as the Tar Heel grappler edged him in a 4-3 decision at the Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 2. Khishignyam took third place at that event, going 4-1 on the day. The Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, native followed that up with a decisive victory as the Bulldogs opened SoCon action with a 32-12 win over Davidson on Dec. 6, downing Sejiro Littleton with a 21-6 technical fall in the sixth minute. Khishignyam closed out the month by winning the 141-pound title at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 16, pinning Arizona State’s Chris Johnson in his first match before recording a tech fall and a major decision to reach the semifinals. There, he earned an 8-4 decision over No. 18 Nathan Pennesi of West Virginia to advance to the title bout, where he edged No. 4 Michael Mangrum of Oregon State, 4-3. In addition to taking the title in his class, Khishignyam was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. He was the SoCon wrestler of the week on Dec. 12 and 19. Other nominees: Dominic Parisi (Appalachian State), Eric Montoya (Campbell), Philip Elias (Davidson), Alex Medved (Gardner-Webb), Patrick Myers (SIUE) and Niko Brown (Chattanooga).
Southern Conference December Athletes of the Month
Men’s Basketball Eric Ferguson, Georgia Southern
Women’s Basketball Ashlen Dewart, Chattanooga
Wrestling Ugi Khishignyam, The Citadel
Photo Courrtesy: Ashlen Dewart, SoCon Athletics