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Eagles can't keep up with ETSU

    JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Devontavius Payne scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds, and ETSU shot 54 percent in the second half to take down Georgia Southern 79-59 in men’s basketball action Friday night in Freedom Hall.
    Tookie Brown recorded 24 points and five rebounds to pace Georgia Southern (9-4), while Shawn O’Connell collected nine points and nine rebounds. Mike Hughes added nine points and five boards.
    Jalan McCloud tallied 14 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench for ETSU (8-4), and Peter Jurkin chipped in 14 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Desonta Bradford finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
    The Bucs opened the second half with a 19-0 run to build an insurmountable lead. McCloud scored five points during the stretch, while Burrell and Bradford each scored four. The Eagles started the half 1 for 7 and committed three turnovers over the 6:50 stretch.
    “That was the game. In the first half when we got down 10, I didn't mind how we were playing and what we were doing," GS coach Mark Byington said. "I thought we did a great job of competing, especially on the defensive end. They made a couple 3s that were uncharacteristic, but we had to stay the course and we were fine. In the second half, we just couldn't get stops and the game got separated there. We just weren't ourselves tonight.”
    GS trimmed the margin to 14 points on a Jake Allsmiller 3-pointer with 7:47 to go, but that was as close as the Eagles would get. The Bucs scored 23 points off 15 Eagle turnovers and netted 15 points off of 13 offensive rebounds.
    “It's one of those things where sometimes you are going to have these types of games," Byington said. There were a lot of odds that were against us tonight, and I think we were just uncharacteristically not ourselves. It's a very good non-conference portion of our schedule and now it's time to turn the page.”
    The Eagles get a break for Christmas before heading to Troy Dec. 29, to open their Sun Belt schedule against the defending league champs. Tipoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET, and the game will air live on ESPN3.