Women’s and Men’s Basketball down rival App State

Jerell Rushin

Hanner Fieldhouse was the site of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, where bitter rival Appalachian State would be both the women’s and men’s opponent.

The women’s team came into their game coming off of a 78-70 win against Coastal Carolina. Looking to move up even more in the Sun Belt standings, the Eagles got off to a rocky start versus the Mountaineers of App State, losing the first quarter 17-9.

Georgia Southern responded by dominated the second period, holding App State to a meager three points. App looked inept on offense, having eight 8 turnovers in the period and going 1-13 from the field. However, App State’s Madi Story would make her presence known early, as she went into halftime with both eight and rebounds. She’d finish the game with 15 points and 12 boards.

To begin the second half, Patrice Butler scored six quick points, and the Eagles went up by 10. It looked like Georgia Southern would pull away, but the story of the game would be how the teams went back and forth with each other. The Mountaineers ended the third quarter on a 13-0 run and took a three-point lead into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was the Angel McGowan show, as the 5’9 senior from Greenville scored 10 of Georgia Southern’s 21 points. McGowan would play in all but 21 seconds of the game and finished with 21 points. After App State broke a late tie with under a minute remaining in the game, freshman sharpshooter Nakol Franks knocked down a huge three-pointer to put Southern up one.

“Nakol is maybe the most special pure shooter I’ve ever coached,” head coach Kip Drown said. “I think if you were to do a highlight video on how to shoot the basketball, she would be the kid we would choose because it is just picture perfect.”

Drown’s team would hold on to win the contest 53-50. McGowan would play in all but 21 seconds of the game and finished with 21 points.

Georgia Southern’s men’s basketball team entered Hanner Fieldhouse looking for their seventh consecutive win and sixth conference win.

The Eagles began the first half hot, knocking down rhythm threes led by Jake Allsmiller. The Mountaineers were consistently late when fighting around on-ball and off-ball screes, which led to several good looks from deep. The Mountaineers answered with a run of their own charged by guard Ronshad Shabazz, who tallied 12 in the first half. While App State cut the Eagles lead down, they did not slow down leading Sun Belt scorer Ike Smith, as he showcased his skill in the first half to the tune of 15 points and four assists.

Taking a five point lead into the second half, Georgia Southern would have no trouble scoring, but would also have no answer for App State’s Shabazz. He would continue to impress and would double his first half total to score another 24 points in the second.

Ike Smith and Tookie Brown would respectively score 10 and 29 of Georgia Southern’s 55 second half points. Listed as a forward on the team roster, BJ Gladden would log a double-double of 11 points and rebounds while playing backup center to starter while Montae Glenn, who was in foul trouble for the majority of the game.

With less than three minutes left in the second half and fighting to win an almost-lost cause, App State began to intentionally foul GS and send them to line. App State made the game closer than how it was played for the majority of the 40 minutes, but Georgia Southern still won the game 92-88. Tookie Brown shot nearly all of GS’s free throws due to those intentional fouls and went 17-23 from the line in the second half.

Sophomore point guard Tookie Brown said shooting so many free throws did not bother him.

“I shoot those all the time after practice,” said Brown. “I shoot maybe 20 to 30 free throws, but I always want the ball when it comes to those crunch times,” Brown said.

The women’s team improved to 7-11 and 3-4 in the Sun Belt competition. Their next matchup will be on the road as they look to avenge their home loss to Troy in a rematch on Thursday night. The men’s team moved to 7-0 in Sun Belt play and will face Coastal Carolina at Hanner Fieldhouse Monday night Jan. 23 at 7:00 p.m.