Eagles Fall to Ragin' Cajuns

Eagles Fall to Ragin' Cajuns

Long Leads UL Lafayette over Men's Basketball

The Eagles cap a four-game homestand Saturday against ULM

STATESBORO, Ga. – Shawn Long tallied 23 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots, and UL Lafayette held Georgia Southern to 27 percent shooting in the second half to earn a 74-65 Sun Belt Conference men's basketball victory over the Eagles Thursday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.

Tookie Brown scored 20 points for the fifth time this season to lead Georgia Southern (5-10, 1-4), and Mike Hughes collected 14 points, four rebounds and three steals. Shawn O'Connell matched career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Coye Simmons pulled down a team-high 10 boards.

Long notched his 62nd career double-double, which leads all active players in the NCAA, after shooting 10 of 13 from the floor. Steven Wronkoski scored 10 points for UL Lafayette (6-8, 2-3), and Bryce Washington collected 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Ragin' Cajuns grabbed nine offensive rebounds and turned them into 14-second-chance points in the second half. UL Lafayette got offensive rebounds on four straight possessions inside the last three minutes after Georgia Southern had cut a 16-point deficit in half, and Long had three of them.  

The story

With Georgia Southern trailing by 16 points, O'Connell sank four free throws, and Brown canned a pair of jumpers in a 10-2 spurt that made the score 64-56 with 3:18 left. Long got putbacks on two straight possessions for UL Lafayette before Hughes made the score 68-61 with three free throws on consecutive Georgia Southern possessions. Washington grabbed an offensive board on the Ragin' Cajuns next trip down the floor, and the Eagles fouled Kasey Shepherd, who made a pair with 1:03 to play. Washington and Johnathan Stove made two free throws each inside the last minute to seal the win. UL Lafayette opened the second half with a 10-1 run to turn a three-point cushion into a 48-36 advantage. Four different Ragin' Cajuns scored, while the Eagles missed their first nine shots of the period on the other end. The margin grew to as many as 16 points on a Long dunk with 9:05 to play before Georgia Southern made the late run.

Quotable from head coach Mark Byington

"I thought we competed really well. Even in the second half, there was a segment there in the first five or six minutes that the game got away from us, but we were trying to do the right thing - we're trying to compete. We dropped a couple passes, we even had two layups we missed and Shawn (Long) was tough for them. His reach, the ball was above the rim, and a lot of times, our guys reached for it, and it was about a foot and a half above them."  

"I was happy with the effort. I thought the guys played hard – They are a really good team. I think we're on to something. I think the guys have to figure some things out. They're learning. I feel like we can play better. I know we can shoot the ball better."

"There was a lot of space for guys to drive. We tried to get them into some ball screens and try to do some things. We finished in the first half, but the threes weren't available tonight. They did a good job of locking on the guys and forcing us to drive it into the big guy."  

"We just have to keep working, come with the right attitude, keep working and things are going to fall in place. I don't know if it's going to be Saturday or the next time, but I really like the way we responded tonight. They're a good team, but we were right there with them. We have to play them again the last game of the year so we can see how much we improve in March."

Next up

The Eagles cap a four-game homestand by playing host to ULM Saturday at 5 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse. The game will be televised live on ESPN3. It's Alumni Day, Frank Kerns Night and the GoDaddy Bowl Champion Georgia Southern football team will be recognized at halftime.

(From Georgia Southern Reports)