Western Carolina exploded on a 17-5 run coming out of the halftime break, and Georgia Southern never recovered as the Eagles fell, 71-62, on Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse.
It was the¬ fourth-straight loss for the Eagles.
"I’m embarrassed," said GSU coach Charlton Young. "This is the most embarrassing loss I’ve had since I’ve been head coach here. We’ve got to do some soul searching and find a way to play with some heart and soul, and like a Georgia Southern team."
The teams were tied, 34-34 at intermission, but Catamounts guard Trey Sumler drilled a 3-pointer right out of the gate, and Western Carolina (9-15, 6-6 Southern Conference) never looked back.
Georgia Southern’s C.J. Reed answered Sumler’s 3 with a basket at the other end, but the Eagles (10-15, 4-8) missed their next nine shots in a row.
They didn’t make a field goal for 7 minutes, 52 seconds.
Meanwhile, WCU, led by 18 points from Brandon Boggs, dominated the boards (37-29), the 3-point line (6 of 14) and the floor (29 of 55 from the field)
"We were out-rebounded, 37-29 and gave up 52 percent (shooting). That’s all you have to say," Young said. "They played harder than us, and it’s unacceptable. We’re going to come in and practice, and practice and practice until we figure out who we want to be and what we want to be."
The lone bright spot for GSU was Reed, who led all scorers with 20 points.
Brian Holmes came up big for GSU when it finally stopped the Western run, scoring 13 points in the game, 10 of which came in the second half.
Sumner scored 17 points, and big man Tawasaki King scored 14 of WCU’s 36 points in the paint. The Eagles got 22 inside points.
"All we had to do was throw the ball inside and drive the ball, and we didn’t do it," Young said. "Because of their transition (defense), we had to put Eric (Ferguson) at the four and play small. They played good enough to win."
The game was tied at all but one of the four first-half media timeouts, and the Eagles tied it at halftime in dramatic fashion, when Holmes kicked it out to Reed for a 3 at the buzzer that made it 34-34.
The teams exchanged leads six times in the first half, and Western got points off of three separate alley-oops.
Reed was lights out in the first half, hitting all but one of his four 3-point attempts, and all three foul shots, for a bulk of his 14 first-half points.
The Eagles went 5 of 7 from long distance, with Cameron Baskerville and Cleon Roberts adding 3s. They finished the game at an 8 of 27 clip.
The game was the second of a doubleheader in Hanner Fieldhouse, where GSU celebrated "Pack the House in Pink," an annual event that raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research.
The Eagles are off until Feb. 14, when they face The Citadel at 7:05 p.m., in Charleston, S.C.
"We’re going to watch film tonight, we’re going to take one day off and we’re going to practice on Monday," Young said. "We’re going to do some soul searching to figure out what we want to be. We’re in a rut right now. We’re not playing well. We’ve got six games left, and the (SoCon) tournament to figure it out."
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.