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Tailgate kicks off a hoops double-header Saturday
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    Saturday at noon in the parking lot in front of GSU’s Hanner Fieldhouse, the fifth annual Hanner Hooligans Tailgate will take place before both the men and women’s basketball games, and everyone is encouraged to attend.
    The tradition dates back five years, when GSU alumni Jimmy Durrence and Bill Bates decided to help out in getting the Georgia Southern student body involved with the hoops teams.
    “Bill and I were at a football game, and we got to talking about how we could get the students involved with the basketball program,” said Durrence. “We wanted to do something to get them excited.”
    The event was successful from the start, as Durrence and Bates used their resources to search for donations and sponsorships. Using the Georgia Southern athletics fan message board — — the two men asked alumni, fans, and businesses for donations and support to get the ball rolling on the new tradition.
    Sponsors, including Heritage Bank, Robbins Meat Packing Company and McDonalds, have offered their support with donations of food and money.
    Available at this Saturday’s tailgate will be plenty of free food for all who attend, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and Durrence’s own home made chili.
    The event has grown rapidly over the last five years, highlighted by the 2004 tailgate. The GSU men’s basketball team was in the middle of a 13 game winning streak, so fan excitement was at an all time high. The Eagles were set to take on the College of Charleston, and because of the bitter rivalry between the two teams, the game was full of hype. Durrence, Bates, and company served an estimated 1,600 students, fans and alumni that day, so they know exactly how prepared they need to be each year.
    Live entertainment is also provided for those who attend. Over the years, this has included live music, remote broadcasts from radio stations, and giveaways. Eagle mascot Gus is always on hand to keep the crowd amused.  This time around, no live music acts have been announced, butGus and the GSU pep band will be on hand to keep the crowd entertained.  The Voice of the Eagles Chris Blair will also be at the tailgate for his pre-game show which can be heard on Eagle 102.9 FM.
    Fans are encouraged to arrive any time before noon, but the free food service will begin one hour before the Lady Eagles tip off.
    The Lady Eagles (8-14, 3-8 SoCon) will tip off against the Lady Phoenix of Elon at 1 p.m. and the men (10-11, 3-7 SoCon) will take on the Chattanooga Mocs at 3:30.