Eagles’ season is coming to a close

Layne Saliba

Tonight will be the last time you see the Georgia Southern University men’s basketball team in Hanner Fieldhouse this season. The seniors will be honored and the team will play in hopes of remaining No. 1 in the Sun Belt.

There are three teams atop the conference – Georgia Southern, Georgia State and UL Monroe.

The remaining schedules for these teams are interesting as all of them play at least one of the others in the last two games of the season.

For Georgia Southern, that team is Georgia State. But before the Eagles look to Georgia State, UT Arlington stands in the way.

The last time the two teams met was Tuesday, Dec. 30 in Arlington. This was the Eagles’ first Sun Belt game, and they came out on the losing side.

Although Georgia Southern was leading with just seconds to go, the Mavericks made a layup with 14.1 remaining on the clock to take the lead and ultimately beat the Eagles by one point.

Georgia Southern is looking for a much different outcome this time when the Mavericks come to Statesboro. This game may also be a little more important than when the teams first met. Georgia Southern must win in order to stay at the top of the conference.

With the Sun Belt Tournament quickly approaching, it is important to be the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds so that you are automatically propelled to the semi-finals. Not to mention, the team you would face will have just played the previous night.

Georgia Southern must come out with a win tonight in order to get that No. 1 or No. 2 spot.

With senior forward Angel Matias likely out for the game, other players must step up. Redshirt senior forward Trent Wiedeman will need to be a force down low, and redshirt senior forward Eric Ferguson will need to follow suit. Ferguson did not have trouble under the basket against Arlington last time. He recorded a season high 16 rebounds – eight offensive and eight defensive.

Redshirt senior guard Jelani Hewitt needs to have a good night and take smart shots from the perimeter as well. The Eagles shot 35 percent from the field last time and 19 percent from the three. Hewitt, freshman guard Jake Allsmiller and others have to make shots that increase that percentage if the Eagles hope to beat UT Arlington.

With the seniors being honored and the conference tournament on the horizon, the Eagles need this win so they can go into the Georgia State game with confidence and earn a semi-final berth in their first Sun Belt Tournament.