While most students went home to celebrate Thanksgiving with plates of turkey and dressing, both Georgia Southern Basketball teams spent their week off from classes traveling across the country to compete in tournaments. Here’s a quick recap of how the men and women’s team did.
The Eagles went 2-2 over the break, losing their first two games of the Savannah Invitational, but rebounding to take the final two games of the tournament.
In the two losses, the Eagles were in both games until late in the second half, where they let the other teams run away with it. In the 80-67 loss against Mercer, the Bears finished the game on a 25-4 run to seal the win. Similarly, the Eagles let Akron go on late run to close out the game and give the Zips a 75-67 victory.
“We’re a little bit out of rhythm right now, and we’re a little bit disjointed,” GS head coach Mark Byington said after the game. “But we were just down three against a really good team, and I’m more encouraged about what we’re going to become.”
However, the Eagles bounced back in the final games and defeated Florida A&M 83-72 and Radford 65-64.
Ike Smith paced the Eagles in the win over FAMU by scoring a career-high 26 points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks. He’s the leading the team in scoring this season about 20 points per game. The sophomore has been more efficient shooting the ball this season, and has been able to get to the rim at will.
The win over Radford saw the Eagles preserve the 1-point win with a big defensive stand in the final 30 seconds. After Tookie Brown hit the go-ahead layup, the Eagles dug in and forced Radford into a bad shot, which rimmed out as time expired.
“Our guys were really locked in, they communicated well and they did a great job of finding a way to get a stop and win the game,” Byington said.
The Women’s team went winless over the break, dropping games to Clemson, Jacksonville State, Alabama and IUPUI, all of which were on the road.
They lost to IUPUI by 26 points, but the other games were much more competitive. The Eagles fell late to unbeaten Alabama, and lost to Clemson by 11 points. However, outside of the IUPUI game, head coach Kip Drown was proud of the effort and believes the team can continue to improve over the rest of the non-conference schedule.
“I thought we came ready to play, we competed really well and I thought our kids walked in the building and honestly felt like they were going to win the basketball game,” Drown said after the loss to Clemson. “I love that about our preparation, I didn’t have to worry about that at all.”
They play again on Tuesday at 11 a.m. against Mercer in a game which will be attended by students from elementary and middle-schools in this area.