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Eagles looking to sweep Phoenix
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    Louis Graham hasn’t changed what he’s eating for breakfast, his workout routine or anything else Georgia Southern’s basketball coaches can specifically point out.
    But the senior has become more dangerous than ever on the hardwood recently, averaging 21 points an outing in the Eagles’ last 13 games. Highlighting his recent surge was a career-best 29-point performance in a 77-66 road win against Wofford Thursday, helping Georgia Southern avenge its only home loss of the season.
    Perhaps most frustrating for Terrier defenders was the 6-foot-8 forward’s efforts from 3-point range where he sank all four of his attempts. In his last three games, Graham’s hit 21 of 35 (60 percent) tries from the field.
    “His teammates are doing a good job getting it to him, and he’s demanding the ball inside,” Eagle coach Jeff Price said. “When he starts hitting 3-pointers, he’s hard to handle. There’s not a whole lot anyone can do when he’s playing well both inside and outside.”
    Graham’s career night coupled with another solid defensive showing by the Eagles gave Georgia Southern (18-8, 11-5) its fourth straight win and sixth in seven games. GSU will look to extend its winning streak to five in tonight’s 7:30 home game against Elon (10-15, 8-9).
    The Phoenix recently suffered through a season-long six-game losing streak but bounced back with three consecutive wins, most recently a 76-70 home victory over North Division leader Appalachian State on Thursday. The Eagles are going for a season sweep of the Phoenix, who fell to GSU 67-57 on Jan. 17.
    Georgia Southern will be up against an Elon team boasting the third-best scoring defense in the league (66.1 points per game). Offensively, the Phoenix rank next to last in the SoCon with 63 points an outing. The Eagles are anticipating another low-possession game, similar to their matchup against Western Carolina last week.
    “They are playing well and are obviously a confident team right now,” Price said. “They are good defensively and really disciplined on offense. We have to try not to allow the tempo they want. They’re a team that likes to get comfortable, and we can’t let them do that.”
    The Eagles are in line for the third seed for the SoCon tournament, which begins March 7 in Charleston, S.C. It’s the highest possible seed Georgia Southern can get because Davidson has locked up the top seed and the No. 2 seed goes to the North Division winner.
    “We need to keep trying to win, create space and solidify that (third-seed) position,” Price said. “I feel like we are moving in the right direction and getting better every game.”
    Georgia Southern’s defense had a breakthrough in a dominating win over Chattanooga last Saturday and kept rolling in the Wofford win, holding the Terriers to 2 of 19 shooting from 3-point land.
    “It was good see some carryover from the UTC game,” Price said. “We continued to defend well, and we really guarded the 3-point line and attacked inside.”
    The Eagles also did an excellent job protecting the basketball, turning the ball over just three times. Price believed it was the lowest turnover total in his career.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.