The Georgia Southern men and women picked up big Sun Belt conference wins Thursday night. The women notched an 81-75 win at Coastal Carolina while the guys knocked off Marshall 81-76 at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Georgia Southern men struggled out of the gates this season but have really turned things up since starting Sun Belt play. The Eagles jumped out to a big first half lead and then were able to hold off a late Thundering Herd run to improve to 10-6 overall and 3-0 in Sun Belt play.
“We took care of business at home and I think we came out of the gates with a lot of fire,” said Eagle coach Brian Burg. “They tried to play up temp and we did a great job running the floor and getting the numbers on the break and finishing.”
Marshall came in leading the nation in offensive rebounds and were second in all of the NCAA in total rebounding at 45 per game. Thursday the Eagles turned the tables on the Herd as they managed to hold them to only 28 total rebounds and had 42 themselves including 13 on the offensive glass.
“We made rebounding a big emphasis in this game,” said Burg. “Marshall came in leading the country and our guys did a great job limiting them to just one shot when they were on offense. We are getting rebounds not only from our post players but our guards. I really liked how Kamri Brown hit the boards tonight with seven rebounds. We also got 56 points in the paint against a team known to be physical and hats off to our staff for coming up with a gameplan and our players for executing it.”
Georgia Southern had five players in double figures and were led by Andrei Savrasov with 18 points. Jalen Finch finished with 17 points and eight assists while Tai Strickland had 13 points, Kaden Archie added 12 points and Kamari Brown had 10 including three ally oops in the first half which brough the crowd to their feet.
“This was a great team effort,” said Burg. “I feel like Jalen Finch did a great job finding his teammates and getting them open shots. Our players are really understanding their roles and executed the game plan we put in place for them."
Next up the Eagles host Old Dominion Saturday at 3:00
The Georgia Southern women pulled away in the second half at Coastal Carolina on a 16-2 run as they went on to win 81-75. The Eagles were led by Terren Ward with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Ja’Nya Love-Hill added 12 points while Le’Andrea Gillis and Simone James each had 11 points.
"Coastal looked more like us and we looked like the more winded team,” said Eagle coach Anita Howard. “We just needed to knock off the rust and push the tempo. We missed a lot of shots we usually make in the first half. I was pleased with our second half effort. Coastal is not their record. [Coach Pederson] has them playing extremely hard. They're a scrappy team and I'm pleased to get out of here with the win."
The Eagles improve to 10-2 overall and 2-1 in Sun Belt play. Up next Georgia Southern travels to Marshall for a 1:00 tipoff Saturday afternoon.