Eagles struggles continue, as losing streak grows to three

Kaitlin Sells

Eagles played selfish basketball and were unable to get their offense and defense going for most of the game resulting in a 91-102 loss at home against the first place Ragin’ Cajuns.

The Eagles started off with a fast and skillful momentum, as they opened the game with a 6-0 run. That moments continued to pick up, but so did Louisiana’s, who after a quick time-out went on an 8-0 run and grabbed the lead over the Eagles.

{{tncms-inline account=”George-Anne Sports” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ike Smith with the first points of the game and then goes down and takes a charging call. Very quickly it’s 6-0 GS. <a href="https://t.co/eS4X8AAD6V">pic.twitter.com/eS4X8AAD6V</a></p>— George-Anne Sports (@GeorgeAnneSport) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeorgeAnneSport/status/962447737152331776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 10, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/GeorgeAnneSport/status/962447737152331776″ type=”twitter”}}

The referees proved to be very attached to their whistles as they called 6 fouls in total within the first three minutes of the game, and 24 fouls called for the entire half. Both teams entered the bonus fairly early in the game and eventually hit double bonus shortly before the half ended, hurting the Eagles as almost 30 percent of ULL’s points came from free-throws alone.

The Eagles came back to regain the lead later on in the first half, but the half from there remained tight with no more than a two to three-point gap.  The Cajuns were quick to take back the lead with little time left in the half and took the time they had left to build that lead on the Eagles. The half ended with the Cajuns leading by over 10 points, 52-38.

Both teams came out strong in the second half, both their first points being dunks. From there both teams continued to heat up. More so intensity showed from the Eagles as the went on many scoring runs, and the Cajuns responded with physicality. This response seemed to the trick as their lead on GS increased and ULL began to show off a little with hitting three dunks in the matter of four minutes.

The Eagle’s response to ULL putting up an almost 20-point lead on them was to play selfish basketball. Junior guard Tookie Brown showed he was desperate for points as he sat at only one point for the majority of the game, but soon turned that around and broke 20 points by the time there was three minutes left in the game.

Brown seemed to want it the most, as he went from having one point going into the second half to scoring 29. Brown ended up fouling out by the end of the game, leaving the Eagles hopeless.

The Cajuns also seemed to come out in the second half ready to play defensively- out-rebounding the Eagles 52-28, and forcing 3 scoring turnovers from the Eagles.

In the end, the Ragin’ Cajuns just seemed to want it more, and that showed as they kept pushing to keep their lead and just make it bigger on the Eagles throughout the game.

Head Coach Mark Byington Talks after the game

Overall assessment of the game

Byington: “I was really proud of our guys’ effort. I thought we played really hard…What let us down was our transition defense, our rebounding. We gave too many important threes in the first half. The game was kinda decided the last two-half minutes of the first half, where we made some transition defense and rebounding errors…We’ll fix it.”

On Tookie’s early foul trouble.

Byington: “The whole game changed when Tookie [Brown] got his second foul…not having out on the court was not good.”

Team fatigue throughout the game

Byington: “There was a couple of times that [maybe not] as much mentally fatigue as physical fatigue, where we played some guys who just don’t understand the concept of our transition defense and getting back, who were playing good on offense…Right now, some guys, are still learning and some older guys, know better.”

Rebounding struggles

Byington: “We got in the habit of ball watching, instead of finding bodies. We’ll fix it. That is something that we can fix…You can’t give them that many easy baskets and expect to beat a good team.”

Late season slump and week-long rest before Georgia State

Byington: “We need practice and we need some rest. It’s not something you want to go through, but almost majority of the teams go through something like this throughout the year…We gotta stop it where it is now. We can’t let it keep going…Everything is still in-front of us.”

On the crowd support tonight and for Georgia State’s game

Byington: “First of, I’m disappointed that we didn’t play better because we had a great crowd tonight. You want to play better, so they have a good feeling and they come back again. Hopefully, [the crowd] gives us another chance because they were great tonight. Our Georgia State games are always exciting. We lost a tough one up in Atlanta. We played without Tookie…They are also on a great roll right now. They are playing really good basketball and we wanted to played much better tonight to have a chance, but our guys will be excited to play. Hopefully, everyone comes out.”

Jozsef Papp contributed to this report.