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Eagles dig big hole, can't recover in loss to UTC
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    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A frantic Georgia Southern rally in the final minutes came up just short as Chattanooga held off the Eagles 96-91 Thursday night at The McKenzie Arena.
    The Mocs maintain their lead in the Southern Conference North Division and now stand at 14-7 overall and 9-2 in league play. The Eagles fall to 14-8 and 7-5.
    GSU rallied from a 22-point deficit mid-way through the second half to get within five, but eight straight points from Kevin Bridgewaters, including six at the free throw line, held them off.
    “I thought it was a hard-fought game,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “I never accept losing but I was happy with how our guys fought back. (We) were resilient (and) we could have laid down and we didn’t. They did a nice job in the last five minutes of the game showing some heart and getting back in the game.”
    UTC went into halftime on a 7-0 run to go up by 11 (46-35), which quickly expanded to 14 one minute into the second half. A 15-3 Chattanooga run gave the Mocs their biggest lead of the contest, 72-50 with 11:31 to play.
    Georgia Southern began the comeback from there with eight straight points and got the deficit into single digits with 2:42 to go. Senior Anthony Marshall’s (Lake Worth, Fla.) lay-up brought the Eagles to within five (93-88), but Bridgewaters hit two more free throws and GSU was unable to get any closer.
    “We played harder,” Price said about the comeback. “We were playing with more of a sense of urgency. Our press wasn’t bad early — they were turning over. We didn’t have any choice when we got behind and we wanted them to shoot the ball quick and they did it for us and they turned it over a little bit. I thought it got us back in the game. We managed the clock pretty well in the last five minutes of the game.”
    Seniors Louis Graham (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Dwayne Foreman (Apopka, Fla.) both recorded new career high scoring totals. Graham poured in 27, 18 in the second half, and Foreman tallied 23 with 17 coming in the final period. Foreman went 7-for-15 from 3-point territory and dished out seven assists.
    “He’s an awfully good player,” Price said of Graham. “He can step out a little bit and shoot the ball and he’s getting things done inside. He draws some fouls inside and posts up hard. I thought he was effective. I thought Dwayne played really well. His assist-to-turnover ratio was good — he had one turnover in 36 minutes and seven assists. He shot the ball really well tonight.”
    For Chattanooga, Bridgewaters scored a team-high 24, thanks to a 12-for-12 performance at the charity stripe. He missed just once on the night as he converted five of his six shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers.
    The Eagles return home Monday and battle UNC Greensboro at 7:30 p.m.