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Furman women come back, GSU men hammer SCSU
Georgia Southern forward Danielle Spencer, center, tips the ball to herself after blocking a shot attempt by Furman's Wholli Wilkins during the first half at Hanner Fieldhouse Saturday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Brittany Hodges and Holli Wilkins each scored 18 points, and Furman overcame a 12-point early second-half deficit to post a 67-62 Southern Conference women’s basketball victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse.
    Anna Claire Knight led Georgia Southern (2-7, 0-1) with 19 points, and MiMi DuBose scored 17. Briana Jones collected her third double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, and Lacie Dowling netted 10.
    Hodges was 7-of-14 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line for the Paladins (5-4, 1-0), while Brigid Morrissey recorded 15 points and six rebounds. Sarah Durdaller finished with a team-high 12 boards.
    The Eagles led 48-36 following a conventional 3-point play by Knight 5:16 into the second half. Furman chipped away over time and took its first lead of the stanza on a Morrissey triple from the top of the key with 7:03 to go.
    Georgia Southern tied the score at 55-55 on its next possession, but Hodges scored four points in a 6-0 Furman run. The Eagles cut the lead to 64-62 with a DuBose layup with 3:10 to play, and got three defensive stops but could not score the equalizer.
    Morrissey hit 1-of-2  from the free-throw line with 28 seconds left to make the score 65-62, and the Eagles had two chances inside on their next possession but could not get heavily-contested shots to go down. Wilkins grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws to seal the win.

“It was an intense game filled with momentum swings,” said Georgia Southern coach Chris Vozab. “Throughout the first 35 minutes, I thought we did a good job of scoring out of transition or through our half-court offense, but in the final five minutes, we had too many possessions where we either turned it over or took a rushed shot. We have to learn to be calm and composed in the final minutes of a tight game so we can continue to execute the way we need to.”

Knight scored six points in a 10-0 Eagle run that opened a 28-17 cushion for Georgia Southern with 6:26 left in the first half. After a layup by Jones made the score 31-23, Furman finished the frame with a 7-2 spurt and trailed 33-30 at the break.

Wilkins cut the lead to one point with a jumper early in the second half, but DuBose scored seven points as the Eagles outscored the Paladins 13-2 over the next 3:08 to push the margin to 12 with 14:44 to go.

Both teams shot just under 37 percent for the game, and Georgia Southern held a 48-41 advantage on the boards. The Paladins committed a season-low seven turnovers while the Eagles had 15.

The Eagles will have eight days off for exams before their next contest. They return to action by playing host to SoCon opponent Wofford Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse.

Georgia Southern 79, South Carolina State 61

    ORANGEBURG, S.C. —Georgia Southern got its first road win of the season on Saturday night with a 79-61 victory over South Carolina State.
    The Eagles got a career-best 22 points from Angel Matias in the win which boosted the Eagles to 5-5 on the year.
    Point guard Brian Holmes returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury against Old Dominion on Nov. 23.
    “It was great to have Brian Holmes back on the court tonight,” GSU coach Mark Byington said. “We missed not having him on the floor for the last few games. We had a balanced night with a bunch of different guys scoring points tonight. I’m happy to see Angel Matias play so well tonight, we hope this will help make him more confident.”
    Matias was 8 for 12 from the field on the night and made 6 of 7 from the free throw line en route to the win. He also added nine rebounds, one shy of his second career double-double.
    Overall, four Eagles finished in double figures with 14 from Curtis Diamond and Tre Bussey, respectively. Jelani Hewitt posted his lowest scoring night of the season with 13 points, snapping a run of three-straight games with 20+ points.
    The team shot 50 percent from the field for the first time in the last six games. As a unit the Eagles went 10-for-23 from downtown, a 43.5 percent mark.
    Defensively the Eagles forced 19 South Carolina State (2-7) turnovers and turned those miscues into 29 points. Additionally, it was the lowest scoring total allowed this season by the Eagles. The Bulldogs were led by Adama Adams with 21 points off the bench.
    Georgia Southern will break for final exams over the next week and return to action on Sunday, December 15th, at UAB. That game starts at 7 p.m., on CSS, from Birmingham’s Bartow Arena.