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Eagles get big win over Cajuns
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Georgia Southern's Alexis Sams, right, celebrates with teammates Angel McGowan, background center, and Nakol Franks as the buzzer sounds on their 63-60 victory over Louisiana at Hanner Fieldhouse Thursday.

    STATESBORO, Ga. —Alexis Sams scored a season-high 14 points, including the last eight of the game for Georgia Southern, to lift the Eagles to a 63-60 Sun Belt Conference women's basketball victory over Louisiana Thursday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.
     Patrice Butler collected 15 points and 11 rebounds for Georgia Southern (9-12, 5-5), and Angel McGowan scored 17.
     Malachi Seraphin-Williams scored 15 points to lead Louisiana (11-8, 5-5), and Simone Fields contributed nine points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Nekia Jones posted nine points and seven rebounds.
    Sams put the Eagles ahead 61-59 with a runner with 1:27 to go. Gabby Alexander converted a free throw at the other end for Louisiana, but Georgia Southern finished the contest with three straight defensive stops. Butler added two big free throws with 7.4 seconds left to push the margin to 63-60, and Jaylyn Gordon missed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. The fourth quarter featured three ties and four lead changes, and the lead changed hands three times in the last three minutes.
     Georgia Southern trailed 25-19 midway through the second quarter but ended the period with a 19-3 run, keyed by four 3-pointers in a row from McGowan, Sams and Jessica Marcus. Butler scored the last five for the Eagles, who went into the locker room with a 38-28 advantage.
     Louisiana opened the second half with a 12-2 run and tied the score 40-40 on a transition layup by Gordon. Georgia Southern went 3 for 14 from the floor in the third quarter but hung onto a 42-40 lead headed into the fourth.
    "I just felt relaxed." senior guard Alexis Sams said. "My teammates gave me confidence to keep shooting and with their encouragement, I just let it fly."
     The entire Georgia Southern squad seems to have bought in to the teaching and philosophy of Drown.
    "We told our kids yesterday, if you want to be a top-5 team, you have to beat some of these guys. So I'm excited and proud of our kids that we were able to step up and get it done tonight. It was a really big win for our program to get a win over one of what I call the Big-5 programs in our conference."