Texas State rolled into Hanner tonight looking to prevent the Eagles from their first three-game win streak of the season. Georgia Southern led the majority of the game, but it still came down to the wire as the Eagles escaped with the victory 66-62.
The Eagles got off to a hot start as sophomore Coye Simmons got on the board first with a quick two after the opening tip-off. Freshman Tookie Brown quickly came in with back to back three points, with one ending in a four point play to give Georgia Southern an early 9-2 lead two minutes into the contest. The Bobcats were able to pick up a couple baskets of their own but their offense was slowed to a stop by the relentless Eagle defense.
On offense, the Bobcats continued to struggle with turnovers and missed shots. The Eagles stayed spry and were able to create the turnovers, but starting struggling themselves to get more points on the board because of this, three minutes went by without either team being able to put up a point. Texas State eventually broke the drought and began to pull back into the game. With just over seven minutes to play in the first half the Eagles led 16-12 with both teams struggling with accuracy. Minutes later, the Bobcats found themselves in the lead for the first time of the night, up 17-16. Georgia Southern tied things up, then went on a 10-2 run to reestablish their lead, 28-20. Both teams found a rhythm late in the half as the Eagles left the court ahead at halftime 33-27 and shooting 48% from the floor.
The Eagles came out of half time swinging as they jumped out to a quick 43-35 lead with three point help from Brown and sophomore Jake Allsmiller. Texas State continued to hang around by about a five to seven point margin throughout the first part of the second half. Brown continued his dominance as he passed the twenty point mark. Sophomore Mike Hughes and Devonte Boykins were both doing their part as they passed into the double digits.
As the clock ticked below ten minutes in the game, Hughes nailed a three pointer to extend the Eagle lead to five. The Bobcats answered and pulled back with one point with two quick baskets. They had the chance to take the lead with a pair of free throws but neither shot went down and the Eagles quickly rebounded and put in a layup via Hughes. Minutes later, the Bobcats again found themselves down one with a pair of free throws but were able to knock both down to pull ahead. Hughes was able to answer again and give his team back the lead.
A small confrontation occurred under the Bobcat basket after a fight for a live basketball. Both coaches left the bench to come and wrangle their players back to their benches. Three and a half minutes remained on the clock and the Eagles led by one. Hughes stepped up to the free throw line and picked up two more points to give his team a three point lead. A timeout left ninety second on the clock and each team in the bonus. Things heated up as the Bobcats knocked down a three pointer with less than a minute on the clock. Freshman Ike Smith stepped up for the Eagles and knocked down a three of his own to pull back ahead with just over thirty seconds remaining. Smith wasn’t finished as he was able to steal away the next possession from the Bobcats, get fouled, and knock down a free throw. The clock expired with the Eagles up on top 66-62.