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Eagles beat up on Bulldogs
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Georgia Southern guard Tre Bussey, top, splits Citadel defenders Ashton Moore, left, and Quinton Marshall for a score in the second half at Hanner Fieldhouse Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    On Jan. 28, 2010, The Citadel went to Hanner Fieldhouse and blew a 21-point lead as Georgia Southern won 61-58.
    On Thursday, the Bulldogs had a chance for a huge comeback of their own. They didn’t even come close.
    This time around, Eagles led by as many as 40 and dismantled The Citadel 83-52 in Hanner. The win snapped a three game losing streak for Georgia Southern (10-12, 3-4 Southern Conference).
    “More important than winning is just feeling like we’re playing good basketball,” GSU coach Mark Byington said. “No matter who we played I think we would have won the game because I think we played our best game of the year.”
    Georgia Southern’s Jelani Hewitt led all scorers with 22 points and three other Eagles — Curtis Diamond (13), Tre Bussey (11) and Brian Holmes (11) joined Hewitt in double digits. GSU had 19 assists on 32 made shots.
    “Lately we haven’t really been sharing the ball, and it has showed on film,” Hewitt said. “We played together more. We got in the paint looking for the extra pass. The offense comes easier. We score better like that. Our team sees it and we’re going to continue to do it.”
    The Citadel (4-19, 0-8) shot a brutal 35 percent for the game and went 1 for 13 from 3-point land.
    The Eagles abused The Citadel down low, scoring 45 points in the paint and winning the rebounding tally 43-29.
    Ashton Moore led The Citadel with 14 points, and the team’s leading scorer Matt Van Scyoc managed just 7 points.
    Things started fast for the Bulldogs, who made their first three shots as they pulled ahead 6-0, but then things went very, very wrong. For the next 12 minutes and 3 seconds, The Citadel didn’t score.
    Meanwhile, the Eagles did just about whatever they wanted. They went on a 29-0 run, knocked down 4 of 5 3-pointers and saw back-to-back, two-handed slams by Marvin Baynham as five different GSU players scored in the run.
    The Bulldogs finally got back onto the scoreboard when C.J. Bray hit a jumper, snapping a streak of 17 missed shots by The Citadel.
    The Eagles shot above 50 percent from the floor (15 of 28) and from 3-point territory (5 of 9) in the opening half as they took a 38-17 lead into the half as The Citadel shot just 27 percent.
    “Our main focus was coming out here, playing together and holding the other team under 40 percent,” Hewitt said. “We accomplished that today.”
    Georgia Southern is back in action on Saturday, facing UNC Greensboro on the road at 5 p.m.
NOTES: Forward Angel Matias suffered a cut on his face in the game that will require stitches. … The game was the 50th all time between GSU and The Citadel. The Eagles now lead the series 30-20. … The Bulldogs extended their losing streak to 11. … GSU freshmen Grayson Clark and Scott Kelly scored their first-career points as Eagles in the game. … Members of the GSU football team were on hand, and were recognized at halftime for their Nov. 23, 26-20 win over the Florida Gators. … Announced attendance was 1,613.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.