Story Courtesy Georgia Southern Athletics
STATESBORO – Senior Jake Allsmiller drilled eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 24 points in his final home game to lead Georgia Southern to an 89-83 men’s basketball victory over Troy in the Sun Belt Conference finale for both teams Saturday evening in Hanner Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the Eagles solidified sole possession of third place in the Sun Belt standings and receive a bye in the upcoming conference tournament March 7-11 in New Orleans at Lakefront Arena.
Allsmiller was 8 of 11 from long distance and moved into second in all-time triples at Georgia Southern (20-11, 11-7). Tookie Brown collected a game-high 28 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds.
The Eagles reached 20 wins for the second time in four years and joined Louisiana and UTA as the only three Sun Belt schools to reach double-digit conference wins in each of the last four seasons.
Jordon Varnado tallied 27 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Troy (15-16, 9-9), while Alex Hicks registered 14 points and 15 boards. B.J. Miller and Wesley Person each netted 14.
Georgia Southern never trailed in the second half but saw its 17-point first-half lead chopped down to 40-33 by the break and down to one point on multiple occasions in the second period.
Allsmiller answered one of those charges with consecutive 3-pointers, and Brown helped the Eagles get separation with a miraculous shot with 1:37 to play. With the Eagles ahead by three and the shot clock at one second, the junior picked up a semi-loose ball, spun around and shot it one-handed for a back breaking 3-pointer and an 81-75 GS lead.
Varnado made two free throws at the other end, but Brown knocked home another dagger 3-pointer, this time much more of a conventional nature, for an 84-77 cushion with 50 seconds left. Montae Glenn and Brown combined to make 5 of 6 free throws the rest of the way to seal the win.
Allsmiller hit consecutive 3s, and Mike Hughes capped a 17-6 Eagle run with a triple as GS built a 36-19 lead with 5:20 to play in the first stanza. Troy took over from there and held GS to 2 of 8 shooting while outscoring the Eagles 14-4 the rest of the frame.
Senior guard Jake Allsmiller
On game tonight
“I needed that one. It was special. Hanner Fieldhouse itself – I’m going to miss it so much. It’s a special place and a special environment and the people in it are incredible. To be able to come out and do that with my family down here watching and for my last go around, it was something else.”
After back-to-back triples to give the Eagles a 61-54 lead
“I just looked at (senior) Mike Hughes the entire game, and we’re just taking it all in. After I hit those two 3s, he was the first person that I ran to. I didn’t even care what the score was at that point, I was just trying to make shots. I kind of blacked out for a second just trying to be out there with my brothers on our home court one last time.”
On helping to build a program
“Knowing that we’re going to leave a legacy and something that’s going to be important to the players who come through here and knowing we’re playing our best basketball right now going into the tournament. We’re really excited about it.”