Montae Glenn, Quan Jackson set tone for best GS offensive performance since 1955

Senior Montae Glenn had a double-double in the season-opening win against Carver College. 

McClain Baxley

In warm ups prior to Georgia Southern’s first game of the season against visiting Carver College, redshirt-sophomore Quan Jackson had a little extra bounce in his step. Going through pregame drills, the guard was flying into dunks with ease and high-fiving his teammates as he passed by.

One of Jackson’s fellow starters, senior Montae Glenn, was going through the same drills, but with more reservation.

Both Glenn and Jackson started most of the previous season, but there were more inquisitive eyes on Jackson, the second year player who hadn’t been one of the top rebounders in the Sun Belt.

“I’ve gotten better since last year,” Jackson said. “I can finally showcase that to the fans and to my teammates doing stuff for us to win games.”

The showcase Jackson put on was nothing shy of an unexpected spectacle. From scoring the first points of the season to leading the team in celebration on walk-on freshman Eito Yuminami’s first career points, Jackson was electric.

With 25 points, nine rebounds and eight steals, Jackson’s aggressiveness worked to a tee. Pickpocketing different Cougars came just as easy as the scoring did for the redshirt-sophomore.

Many of Jackson’s points came from dunks and lobs — something that Eagle Nation wasn’t completely used to. Jackson, Isaiah Crawley, Trey Dawkins were just a few of the Eagles that rose up above the rim to put on a show similar to the Globetrotters.

{{tncms-inline account=”Ryan” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Quan Jackson with the steal and the slam! GS looks like they are having fun with this one, up 20 with 5 minutes remaining in the first half. <a href="https://t.co/KEgyZPWlJ0">pic.twitter.com/KEgyZPWlJ0</a></p>— Ryan (@RyanPye_6) <a href="https://twitter.com/RyanPye_6/status/1060331582932824064?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 8, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/RyanPye_6/status/1060331582932824064″ type=”twitter”}}

“This year, we’re paying at faster pace than we were last year,” Glenn said. “So with that there’s going to be a lot of leak outs and dunks.”

In a calmer, just as thrilling light, Glenn was putting on a clinic of his own in the paint.

The senior was playing in his first competitive game for the first time since he was sidelined with a knee injury before the Sun Belt tournament last season and he made all 18 of his minutes count.

“I’ve been practicing hard and rehabbing and working hard to get back to this moment,” Glenn said.

The senior seized his moment with 16 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action. Though he didn’t have the most points on the night, Glenn’s efforts under the rim helped push the pace and create a new, quick offense that wasn’t there last season.

With about five minutes left in the game, the Eagles had shattered the 100 point mark and many fans began frantically searching their record books to see how many the team could break.

The most points scored in program history in one game came against High Point in 1955 where they posted 140 on the Panthers. The most points scored since the Eagles moved to Division 1 in 1971 was when they scored 126 on Georgia State in 1974.

Both records were within reach and the crowd held onto its breath with anticipation.

Dawkins broke past the 126 point barrier with a layup created by a Daniel Cooper turnover with just over three minutes to play.

At this point in the game, the starters were already wearing their sweats and there was little to no chance for them to return to the game. Jackson, Glenn and the gang resorted to all they could do — cheer on their teammates with everything they had left.

{{tncms-inline account=”Ryan” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Another Jackson slam gives him 13 points before the break. The Eagles are putting on a show in the first half, and the fans in attendance are loving it. <a href="https://t.co/6nmEHWt9be">pic.twitter.com/6nmEHWt9be</a></p>— Ryan (@RyanPye_6) <a href="https://twitter.com/RyanPye_6/status/1060333633351892992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 8, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/RyanPye_6/status/1060333633351892992″ type=”twitter”}}

“This year I feel like a leader,” Jackson said. “I feel like I help guys do what they need to do so they can get their minutes on the court. I’ve been through it already.”

Yuminami scored his second layup of the night to make it an 137-48 game and by this time Hanner Fieldhouse was aware of what could happen in the waning moments of the season opener.

Until then, head coach Mark Byington had been letting the offense continue to push and work, helped by a strong showing on defense. But under a minute, Byington signaled to freshman Calvin Wishart to cool it off.

“The game was won and we didn’t have to shoot anymore,” Byington said. “You want to win with class and sometimes guys are excited on the court and I just have to remind them that we want to win with class.”

Even though they fell one point shy of breaking a record set 63 years ago, Glenn, Jackson and the Eagles made a point that this team could pay a complete game and the depth was deeper than any other Byington-led team.

The other sign shown in the season-opening, historic win was how evident the will to win and the want to improve was within each player.

“Everybody wants to win. We’ve got to sacrifice some things,” Jackson said. “Time will be sacrificed. Points will be sacrificed. Rebounds will be sacrificed. Everything will be sacrificed because we know what we have to do to win games.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]