The Georgia Southern men’s basketball team once again sent fans on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but ultimately came out on top with a 79-69 victory over Coastal Carolina Thursday night at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Eagles (16-10, 10-5 Sun Belt) took an 8-point lead and extended it to 18 with just over seven minutes to play. But - in a trend that has become all too familiar to GS supporters this season - the team hit an offensive dry spell that combined with seven consecutive field goals made by the Chanticleers (13-13, 6-9) as the lead shrank to just four points with over two minutes left.
Georgia Southern was able to find one final burst, sealing a season sweep of CCU and remaining in a tie for second place in the conference standings as Georgia State also won its Thursday night game.
“We had some nice spurts and got some stops to help us win this one,” GS coach Mark Byington said. “(Coastal) went on some runs and we had some rough spots, but we stayed the course. We showed some courage down the stretch and won a tough game that we needed to have.”
As has been the case for Georgia Southern throughout the season, the win came on the shoulders of a balanced scoring effort.
Isaiah Crawley led the way with 20 points. Quan Jackson continued his late-season offensive surge with 18 points - including three more 3-pointers - while Ike Smith netted 13 and Elijah McCadden pitched in another 10.
Tommy Burton’s 20 points and 13 rebounds led CCU, but the Chanticleers were done in by some extremes in the box score.
While Coastal dominated with a 51-35 rebounding advantage, the Chanticleers also hit on just 11 of 22 free throw attempts. Even more disastrous for CCU was an 0-for-14 night from beyond the arc. It was the first time since 2009 the Eagles prevented a team from hitting from long range in a game.
There are no easy games left for Georgia Southern as just five contests remain in the regular season and all will carry plenty of weight when it comes to piecing together the conference tournament seeding.
Up next for the Eagles is a 4 p.m. Saturday tipoff against Appalachian State at Hanner. Georgia Southern will look to keep pace in the race for a top tournament seed while also trying to get a bit of revenge after letting a 20-point lead turn into a loss during a trip to Boone on Jan. 4.
“We need to have more of a killer instinct,” Byington said. “End of possessions and not letting up when we go on runs. It’s going to be a challenge. Our guys are looking forward to it.”