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Hammack’s heroics down Eagles in overtime, 74-69

    CHARLESTON — Donny McLendon’s layup with 0.7 seconds left in regulation tied the game and Kevin Hammack scored The Citadel’s last 10 points in the Bulldogs’ 74-69 overtime victory against Georgia Southern Saturday afternoon at McAlister Field House.
    McLendon answered senior Donte Gennie’s go-ahead basket with 2.8 seconds left that seemingly won the game for the Eagles.  But a length-of-the-floor pass hit a crowd underneath The Citadel’s basket and found McLendon, who laid it in just before the buzzer sounded.
    Georgia Southern drops to 9-8 overall and 2-4 in the Southern Conference while The Citadel improves to 6-11 and 3-3 in the league.
    “This is another road game where the opposition shoots 21 more free throws than you,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price.  “That’s what happened again in this game. They shot 21 more free throws and we shot 50 percent from the free throw line and lost in overtime.”
    The game was decided at the line where the Bulldogs, the 10th-ranked free throw shooting team in the league, shot 30-for-38 (78.9%), including a 16-for-17 performance by Hammack.  The Eagles, 11th
in the SoCon at the stripe, hit seven of their 14 shots (50.0%).
    Hammack poured in a career-high 32 points and was the only Bulldog in double figures.  Hammack and McLendon combined for The
Citadel’s final 26 points.
    “(Hammack) just took the game over,” Price added.  “He got the ball to the basket every time and we couldn’t stop him.  We were fouling him and we should have helped better with our posts, but we knew what he was going to do — go to the basket — and he made his free throws.
    Junior Louis Graham tallied 21 points and shot 10-for-14 from the floor.  Gennie had 18 points and junior Dwayne Foreman dished out a game-high six assists.
    GSU led by as many as nine points in the first half and was
ahead 33-27 at the break.
    The Citadel quickly made up most of the deficit by scoring the first two buckets of the second half and went on top 38-37 at the 14:33 mark for the first time since the opening moments of the game.
    The largest lead by either team in the 17:35 of regulation was three points and the second half featured six ties and 12 lead changes.
    Georgia Southern led 60-57 with 39 seconds left in the game on a lay-up from Graham, but the lead stayed at three when Graham was unable to complete the three-point play.  Hammack was able to finish his
three-point play and the score was tied at 60-60 with 28 seconds left.
    On the Eagles’ next possession Gennie hit a shot just inside the 3-point line with 2.8 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Hammack’s heroics.
    All but two of The Citadel’s points in overtime came from the line, thanks in large part to Hammack. 
    The Bulldogs took the lead at the 2:12 mark of the extra frame and never gave it up.
    Georgia Southern takes a day off before facing the College of
Charleston Monday night at 7 p.m.  It will be televised live on CSS (channel 60 in the Statesboro area.)

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