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Wofford lights it up, Eagles lay down
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    Before Wofford rolled into town, Georgia Southern hadn’t lost at Hanner Fieldhouse this season, and perhaps the Eagles were feeling a little too comfortable on their home court.
    They paid for their complacency Thursday when an “inexcusable” defensive performance in the second half led to an 86-79 upset by a struggling Terrier team playing without its leading scorer.
    “We can’t think just cause we are home we’re just going to show up and win,” said GSU senior Louis Graham, whose game and season-high 26 points tied his career best. “We took it for granted. It’s a step back, but the SoCon’s not over yet. We’ve got to learn from this.”
    Down nine at the break, Wofford hit its first seven shots of the second half and 13 of its first 16 tries to take its first lead since midway through the opening half. Georgia Southern battled back, tying the game at 51 with 12:19 to go before the Terriers (10-8, 3-5) unleashed a quick 9-0 run. The Eagles (12-7, 5-4) never recovered.
    “You can’t give a team momentum that has shooters like that,” Graham said. “When you get complacent with a team like (Wofford), they tend to punch you in the mouth. They have nothing to lose, and we have a lot to lose and a lot to gain. Tonight I think we lost a lot.”
    Georgia Southern dropped its second straight game but remained in second place in the Southern Conference’s South Division. It was the second win in a row for the Terriers, who entered the game with losses in three of their last four and recently ended a five-game conference losing skid with a narrow win at The Citadel.
    Wofford hadn’t won in Statesboro since January 2001 and shot 72.4 percent (21 of 29) in the second half despite the absence of star guard Shane Nichols, who stayed in Spartanburg, S.C., with a bum ankle. Guards Junior Salters (season-high 18 points), Drew Gibson (14) and Corey Godzinski (13) had no trouble filling the void, and Noah Dahlman chipped in a career-high 17 points off the bench.
    “You’ve got to do more than just show up in the conference,” Price said. “I don’t think it would have mattered who we played. We felt we were on our home floor, and we’d been successful here so we could just walk out here and the win would come. In this conference, that doesn’t happen.”
    Price was most disappointed in his team’s lackluster performance after Wofford’s early second-half run, and by the time the Terriers went up by 13 on an uncontested Salters’ layup with two minutes to go, Eagle fans began heading for the exits.
    “Our effort, our intensity, our passion and our leadership were not good when things starting going bad,” Price said. “Our body language wasn’t good. For a senior-heavy team, I was really disappointed with the way we fought back.”
    Wofford hit three straight 3s to go up by five midway through the first half, but Georgia Southern countered with 10 unanswered points, the start of a 17-3 drive. The Eagles controlled the rest of the first half and were ahead 36-27 at the break.
    Georgia Southern hosts Furman Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Notes: GSU junior forward Trumaine Pearson is suspended indefinitely because of academics and could return later in the season. He hasn’t played since the UNC Greensboro game on Jan. 5…Dwayne Foreman and Antoine Johnson joined Graham in double figures with 11 points apiece.

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