Eagles’ wings clipped twice

Shakeem Holloway

 

Georgia Southern University men’s basketball team lost both of its games this past week versus Appalachian State University and Western Carolina University as the team struggled on both sides of the ball.

Against its rivals, the Mountaineers, GSU struggled defensively despite forcing 15 turnovers and shooting a 45.8 field goal percentage.

“This was probably our worst game defensively. We gave up 91 points; we haven’t done that in forever,” head coach Charlton Young said.

Mountaineers’ forward Nathan Healy led the team with 24 points and 11 rebounds.  Forward Jay Canty added 15 points and eight rebounds, and guard Tab Hamilton contributed with 16 points. All three Mountaineer players shot at least 50 percent.

Junior forward Eric Ferguson recorded 23 points and eight rebounds. Freshmen guard Cleon Roberts added 17 points making seven of his eight field goal attempts. Senior guard C.J. Reed scored 19 points but struggled from the field shooting 7-20 while missing all seven of his three-point attempts.

The Eagles maintained a 10-point lead at halftime 37-27 shooting 47.1 percent and holding the Mountaineers to a 40.7 field goal percentage.

The game changed in the second half as the Mountaineers came alive offensively shooting a 57.7 field goal percentage in the second half.

“We’ve been in tight games, we just gotta come out and finish and continue to play hard for 40 minutes,” Ferguson said.

The Eagles, however, were able to stick with the Mountaineers. After a pair of free throws by the Mountaineers, the Eagles were down 73-68 with less than a minute to go.

“It’s a game of inches and we gotta execute a little bit better on each possession to keep us from getting to this point where it’s a one-two possession game,” Young said.

GSU battled back and after some missed free throws by the Mountaineers. Junior forward Marvin Baynham hit one of two free throws to send the game to overtime, the second overtime against the Mountaineers this season.

The Mountaineers made all three of their field goal attempts and went 12-12 from the charity stripe to seal the victory in overtime, 91-86.

Unlike their matchup with the Mountaineers, when the Eagles faced the Catamounts they could not throw a pebble in the ocean, shooting 36 percent for the game.

Reed led the Eagles with 20 points but shot 5-16 from the field. Junior guard Brian Holmes scored 13 points off the pine for GSU.

Guard Brandon Boggs went 8-11 from the field, scoring 18 points for the Catamounts. Trey Sumler added 17 points and Tawaski King contributed with 14 points.

In a competitive first-half the Eagles matched the Catamounts as they went into halftime all tied up at 34. GSU shot 43.5 percent from the field but made five of seven three-pointers.

The Catamounts extended their lead to 15 with less than nine minutes to go as the Eagles went 1-10 from the field to start the half.

GSU cut the lead to five with almost three minutes left in the contest, but the Catamounts would not let the Eagles get any closer as they cruised to a 71-62 victory over the Eagles.

“This was a huge game, and we didn’t close the deal,” Young said.

The Eagles gave up 162 points on their recent two-game losing streak to two teams, which similar to the Eagles, have more losses than wins this season. The Eagles have been up and down this season beating teams such as The College of Charleston (18-7) but losing to teams such as The Citadel (6-17) by double-digits.

“We are good enough to win the Southern Conference tournament, and we know that. We just gotta keep battling,” Young said.

With six games remaining in the season, the Eagles will look to make a strong finish before the SoCon tournament and will travel to play The Citadel Thursday at 7 p.m.