In Georgia Southern’s first game since blowing a 14-point second half lead to Georgia State, it didn’t take long for uneasy memories to bubble up.
The Georgia Southern men’s team saw an early 9-2 lead over Troy vanish as the Trojans went on a 17-0 run early in Thursday’s game at Hanner Fieldhouse. But the Eagles weren’t about to let history repeat itself. Georgia Southern responded with a 25-0 run of its own, continued to extend its lead, and ran away with an 86-57 victory.
Quan Jackson connected on nine of his 14 attempts from the field to lead the Eagles (13-9, 7-4 Sun Belt Conference) and led the team with 21 points. Isaiah Crawley scored 18 and was the driving force behind the Eagles’ huge first half run, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to take Georgia Southern from a 21-20 deficit to a 29-21 lead.
Calvin Wishart hit three times from long range en route to a 13-point night and Elijah McCadden dropped in another 12 points to make it a quarter of Eagles netting double digits on the night. In addition to his hot shooting night, Crawley also pulled down 10 rebounds to record a double-double.
Ty Gordon led the Trojans (8-15, 4-8) with 14 points and keyed Troy’s early run by hitting his first three attempts from behind the arc. Darien Adams and Nick Stampley each scored 12 for the Trojans, but Georgia Southern held them to just 34.9 percent shooting on the night. In comparison, the Eagles shot just over 51 percent to help run away and hide.
Once the dust had settled on the Eagle win, it was clear that a timeout called by GS head coach Mark Byington with the Eagles trailing 21-11 was a turning point that launched the huge Eagle run and set the team up for the win.
“You know, Troy made some huge 3’s and we made a few mistakes and didn’t execute,” Byington said. “I challenged them after Saturday’s game about responding. I looked in their eyes and there was no panic. Everyone got positive and went to work.”
Troy hit a few shots early in the second half to get within 12 points, but the Eagles quickly kicked things back into high gear, stretching the lead to as many as 30 points at times to ensure that another lead wouldn’t be lost.
With the win, the Eagles jumped up to third place in a Sun Belt standings board that is still full of parity and continues to shake everything up at a moment’s notice. The Eagles will try to notch another win on their homestand as they take on South Alabama on Saturday at 4 p.m.