In their first outing since winning the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase, the Georgia Southern Eagles lost to East Tennessee State University, 69-64, for the team’s first loss of the season.
GS started off strong in Hanner, building a seven point lead within the first three minutes of play. A quick ETSU timeout resulted in the Bucs changing their offensive strategy, eventually taking the lead.
“I thought we showed toughness, I thought we battled,” Head coach Mark Byington said. “This game will come back to help us later on.”
Both teams struggled with shot accuracy, with GS shooting just 16.7 percent from beyond the arc throughout the first half. Due to the fast pace set by ETSU, GS had several turnovers, racking up 19 total during regulation. The Bucs utilized this weakness to score on multiple fast breaks. Several missed shots and consecutive sloppy possessions caused the Eagles to go into halftime down 32-27.
After the half, GS started playing with more intensity, narrowing the deficit to one point. Eventually, GS took the lead multiple times. Quan Jackson finished with 13 points and six rebounds and Tookie Brown had 16 points and four rebounds, critical to getting the team’s momentum back on track.
Montae Glenn, the 6’8” powerhouse from Carrollton, was held scoreless in the first half due to being double teamed by the Bucs, but finished with four points.
“It was a struggle tonight, because they had more than one guy on him, Brown said “It frustrated him a little bit, but overall I think he played well.”
On a more positive note, Iowa State transfer Simeon Carter touched the court for the first time as an Eagle and was welcomed with thunderous applause from the stands. Carter contributed four points, one rebound and a block.
While both teams are extremely talented, the game was laden with mistakes. The match really came down to the last few minutes, but the poor time management in the last 50 seconds and a lapse in defense caused the Eagles to be handed their first loss of the season.
“It’s just one game,” Brown said. “We’re just going to have to move forward from it.”
Now 5-1, the Eagles embark on a challenging road trip stretch to face Arizona, Mercer and UCF in the next week and a half.
Tip-off from Tucson, Arizona Thursday is set for 9 p.m. Eastern.
Byington said “we don’t have a single second to feel sorry for ourselves because the games will keep getting tougher.”
Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Sports Candidate, email@example.com