Eagles route Mariners in home opener

Marqus Williams

After coming into a slow start to begin the game, the Georgia Southern Eagles began to pick it up on both sides of the ball in their 92-43 win over Coastal Georgia.

Sophomore Ike Smith scored a game high of 23 points and added six rebounds and two assists. Smith shot 9-12 from the field, aggressively attacking the basket all night.

“I used today as a confidence builder to get ready for the next game, but I feel we played good as a team. There’s always some things we can work on but overall it was good,” Smith said.

A new name that most fans don’t know about put on a show for Eagle fans. This was junior B.J. Gladden. Gladden is a transfer student from Eastern Florida State College who scored 15 points while adding five rebounds in his debut in Hanner Fieldhouse.

“Coach just tells us to be very aggressive throughout the whole game, and if you make a mistake just move on to the next play. I can’t really speak for what we did last year, but this year we try to score in different ways. We really haven’t shot the three ball yet well like we want to, but I know that will come in time,” Gladden said.

The Eagles (1-1) came into the game after a close road loss to N.C. State 81-79 ready to show GS fans how they’ve grown from last season. They pressed the Mariners throughout the game forcing multiple shot clock violations, giving up a 23 percent field goal percentage and forcing 23 turnovers.

GS came out a little slow in the first half on accumulating 38 points and three assists, but came out strong in the second half scoring 54 points and producing 13 assists. They shot 54 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.

“Our guys were a little tight and nervous [being first home game], didn’t start the game well, but they settled in. It was great to play in front of our home crowd, an opportunity we won’t have often until after New Years, but Hanner can be a special place, and it’s hard for opponents to come and win in here,” head coach Mark Byington said.

Last year’s leading scorer Tookie Brown had nine points, five rebounds and three assists this game, and Mike Hughes did not play last night.

The Eagles’ next game is against the Mercer Bears (1-1) in the Savannah Invitational this Sunday, Nov. 20.