ESTERO, Fla. — Mike Hughes tallied 17 points and five rebounds, and Georgia Southern held UMKC to one field goal in the last four minutes to earn a 78-75 men’s basketball victory over the Kangaroos in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Showcase Tuesday evening in Germain Arena.
The Eagles advance to the championship game Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Towson in Germain Arena. The Citizen’s Bank Countdown to Tipoff Pregame Show on the Georgia Southern Sports Network starts at 7 p.m.
With the Eagles leading 76-75, Hughes was fouled with 3.3 on the clock and calmly sank two free throws to make it a 3-point lead. Xavier Bishop tried a 30-footer for the tie, but Tookie Brown slapped the ball away as he rose up and time expired.
Brown finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Eagles (5-0), and Ike Smith collected 12 points and eight rebounds. Montae Glenn had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Jake Allsmiller scored eight.
Isaiah Ross scored 16 points to lead UMKC (2-4), and Broderick Robinson added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Aleer Leek posted 10 points and six rebounds.
Ross hit a triple from the corner to put UMKC ahead 73-71 with 4:21 to play and after a GS turnover, Ross had another 3-point try from the wing rim out. The Eagles dug down from there, forcing back-to-back shot-clock violations, before Jared Hamilton got a steal and Allsmiller took a charge, on the Roos’ next four possessions.
Hughes made a jumper to tie the score 73-73, and Hamilton, who provided a huge spark with six points in 10 minutes off the bench, turned his steal into a transition jumper for a 75-73 lead with 1:11 to go. Allsmiller took the charge with 33 seconds left, and UMKC was forced to foul Brown, who made one for the three-point lead. Ross made a layup with seven seconds left, and GS got the ball inbounds to Hughes, who was fouled with 3.3 to go.
The Eagles survived a 14-of-28 night from the free-throw line. GS will try to win its first in-season tournament championship since taking the Islander Classic at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2003.