Eagles fall in Atlanta, earn No. 2 seed

Layne Saliba

The Georgia Southern men’s basketball team finished the regular season in Atlanta with a loss to Georgia State 72-55 on Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles (21-8, 14-6 SBC) struggled to keep the ball in their own hands as they turned it over 12 times throughout the contest. They shot 42 percent from the field while going 9-25 from the three-point line.

The Panthers (22-9, 15-5 SBC) capitalized off the Eagles’ fouls, going 20-23 from the charity stripe. They also doubled the Eagle’s rebounds with 14.

Redshirt senior guard Jelani Hewitt finished his last regular season game as an Eagle with 17 points. He added five assists and four rebounds.

Redshirt senior forward Trent Wiedeman posted 15 points with three rebounds while freshman guard Mike Hughes added four rebounds of his own.

The Panthers’ junior guard R.J. Hunter netted 35 points en route to their victory. He also sunk 16-of-16 from the free-throw line.

Georgia Southern let the Panthers go on a 10-0 run to start the game, which gave them a 20-10 advantage with just 10 minutes to play in the first half.

The Eagles were able to close that led as the half was ending, but the Panthers went on another run, giving them a 32-21 cushion going into halftime.

The Eagles had 10 of their 12 turnovers in the first half and were only able to put up 16 shots.

The Eagles trailed by 11 points as the teams returned to action. However, Georgia Southern seemed like they were ready to stage another second half comeback with Hewitt and senior guard Curtis Diamond hitting one apiece from downtown. The Georgia State lead was cut to four points and the Eagles had the momentum.

But the Panthers went on another run of their own, scoring 10 while the Eagles produced no points making it 48-34.

The Panthers held on to their lead for the rest of the game and finally handed the Eagles the 72-55 loss.

Georgia Southern will receive a double-bye as the No. 2 seed going into the Sun Belt tournament next week in New Orleans.