Georgia Southern Eagles Top Arkansas State

Kickoff Times Set for Georgia Southern ESPNU Games (Image 1)

 CLICK ON THE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS TO SEE GEORGIA SOUTHERN’S WIN OVER ARKANSAS STATE; LADIES FALL TO ARKANSAS STATE.

RELEASES FROM GEORGIA SOUTHERN SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS:

Men’s Basketball Gets Back to Winning Ways, Picks up 10th Sun Belt Victory
Eagles return to action at UALR Saturday.

STATESBORO, GA. – Jelani Hewitt scored 15 points and set the Georgia Southern career free throws made record to lead the Eagles to a 65-60 Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball victory over Arkansas State Thursday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.

Hewitt set the mark during a pivotal 7-2 Georgia Southern run which saw the senior score all seven points. After Arkansas State trimmed a 12-point deficit to five, Hewitt hit a jumper, drilled the two record-setting free throws and capped the stretch with a long 3-pointer.

Hewitt passed Elton Nesbitt who had 353 free throws from 2003-06. He hit four of his five free throws tonight while the Eagles struggled as a team from the charity stripe, making just 5-of-15.

The Red Wolves made a final push and got the margin down to five points with under a minute to go, but Hewitt was there again to hit a floater and put the lead back to seven points with 37 seconds left.

Trent Wiedeman posted 14 points and six rebounds for Georgia Southern (17-5, 10-3), and Curtis Diamond collected 11 points and nine rebounds. Angel Matias chipped in 10 points and six rebounds, and Hewitt added five rebounds, four assists and three steals with 11 of his points coming in the second half.

“I just want to continue to read the defense and trust our guys to make plays,” said Hewitt, who had to fight off double teams a majority of the night. “Hats off to Arkansas State. They came out with a lot of energy, and we had a tough time keeping them off the glass. We were just resilient and pulled out the win.”

Nouhoum Bocoum posted 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arkansas State (9-14, 4-10), and Anthony Livingston finished with 16 points and 16 boards. Sean Gardner scored 10.

The Eagles took control of the game with a 13-5 run, capped by consecutive dunks by Hewitt and Ferguson, to open a 50-38 lead with 11:07 left in the contest. Livingston scored four points, and Gardner hit a 3-pointer in an 11-4 Red Wolves run that made it a five-point game with 6:09 to play.

Georgia Southern held Arkansas State to 42 percent shooting from the floor, and the Red Wolves made just 8-of-18 from the free-throw stripe.

“We weren’t our best tonight, we didn’t shoot it great and we had some chances to make plays around the rim in the first half that we didn’t make,” said Georgia Southern coach Mark Byington. “Jelani made a lot of big plays for us. He stepped up like an all-conference player does.”

The Eagles are back in action Saturday when they travel to UALR for a Sun Belt Conference contest. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Eastern.

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Arkansas State Holds off Women’s Basketball 81-73

STATESBORO, Ga. – Aundrea Gamble tallied 31 points, seven assists and four steals to lead Arkansas State to an 81-73 Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball victory over Georgia Southern Thursday evening in Hanner Fieldhouse.

Angel McGowan and Patrice Butler each posted 18 points and five rebounds to lead Georgia Southern (4-18, 1-12), and Sierra Butler collected a career-high 12 points to go along with six rebounds off the bench. Anna Claire Knight chipped in eight points and team highs of seven rebounds and four assists.

Gamble was 9-for-22 from the floor and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. Khadi Brown-Haywood notched 17 points and eight rebounds for Arkansas State (17-7, 12-2), and Jessica Flanery scored 10.

The Eagles trimmed a 15-point second-half deficit down to 69-62 and had three chances to cut further into the lead but missed a pair of free throws and then missed a 3-pointer and a jumper on consecutive trips in transition.

Gamble was fouled on Arkansas State’s next possession and made two free throws, and after the Red Wolves got a defensive stop, Brown-Haywood drove to the hoop for a bucket to push the margin back to 73-62 with 2:48 remaining.

A 3-pointer by Trellanie English-Lurry and a layup by Sierra Butler made it a six-point game with 1:09 left, but Gamble hit 5-of-6 from the free-throw line to seal the win.

Georgia Southern shot a season-high 52 percent for the game, including 63 percent in the second period. The Eagles held the Red Wolves to 41 percent for the contest and 37 percent in the second half, but Arkansas State grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, which it turned into 15 second-chance points.

“I thought we did a great job maintaining our poise, especially our young guards, against their pressure, and because of that we were able to get the ball inside,” said Georgia Southern coach Chris Vozab. “They are so good at getting to the basket and we got caught with our bigs helping to contain the drive but leaving our smaller guards trying to box out their big post players and that obviously hurt us on the defensive end.”

The Red Wolves extended a 10-point halftime lead to 63-48 on a Jasmine Hunt putback midway through the stanza. Butler and McGowan combined for 10 points in a 12-6 spurt, capped by a Sierra Kirkland layup in transition, that made the score 69-62 with 5:35 to go.

The Eagles opened a brief lead following a 9-2 run, capped by a Knight jumper, that gave the Eagles a 23-20 cushion with 7:58 left in the first half.  Arkansas State scored five straight points to retake control, and the Red Wolves outscored the Eagles 12-4 over the final five minutes of the period to open a 41-31 lead at halftime. Brown-Haywood scored six of her first-half 11 points during the stretch.

The Eagles travel to first-place UALR Saturday for a 4 p.m. (Eastern) contest.

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