Eagles return to Hanner after loss

Chase Davis

After a trip to South Florida, Georgia Southern University men’s basketball returns to Hanner Fieldhouse this Saturday to take on the Eagles of Toccoa Falls College.

The Eagles put up a valiant effort but lost in overtime to the defending Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion, the University of Miami, 81-80 in overtime Monday night.

“I was really proud of our effort. The guys did a good job of carrying out the game plan, we took care of the ball and we hung close in the rebound margin, which were the keys to the game,” head coach Mark Byington said of his team’s performance last Monday.

“We gave ourselves multiple chances to win the game.  It was tough on the road, but to have a lot of chances to win the game is definitely a positive.  You could flip a coin, and we could’ve won that game very easily,” Byington said.

Byington maintains that the team won’t dwell too hard on the result of the game, “We’ll learn from it, and we’re anxious to play Saturday to see how much we’ve learned.”

TFC is currently 0-2 to start off the season, with losses to Emmanuel College and Bob Jones University.

They will be led by their leading scorer junior guard Jon Sauls, who is averaging 18.5 points per game, and junior forward Derek Westfall, who is coming off a double-double.

“They aren’t very deep,” Byington said. “They’ve struggled with injuries this season, and this is one of the few games this year where we’ll have a size advantage.”

“Hopefully we’ll do a good job rebounding, but we have to expect the unexpected with them.  They can play virtually any defense possible, so we have to be ready for anything,” Byington said. “They’re going to shoot the ball well and shoot a lot of threes, so I anticipate a fast paced game”

The Eagles will be led by redshirt junior guard Jelani Hewitt and senior guard Tre Bussey, who are the team’s leading scorers, averaging 26 and 20 points, respectively.  Senior Brian Holmes is coming off a 17-point outing as well.

GSU has gone 8-6 at home dating back to last season, and has outscored opponents 968-891.  TFC is 4-14 on the road during the same timeframe and has been outscored 1376-1143.

The game will tip-off at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.