Georgia Southern faced an uphill battle Saturday as they took on rival Georgia State on the road without their best player.
Junior guard Tookie Brown watched the Eagles' 83-66 loss from the bench in street clothes as he nursed an injury. His presence was sorely missed late as the Panthers went on a 22-6 run to pad their lead. Southern missed 10 straight shots over a 4:03 period in the second half.
"In the second half there, we got a little a wild and that's usually where he will step in and make a play for us," head coach Mark Byington told GSEagles.com. "We're used to a guy, who is one of the best guards in the country, out there playing 31 minutes a game. I thought the other guys played well, but they just wore down by not having another guy come in and give them an extra boost."
The Eagles led 39-38 at the break, but shot just 28 percent in the second half. Conversely, the Panthers shot 55 percent in the final 20 minutes. That was the story of the game, as Georgia Southern's last win over State in Atlanta remains in 1992.
""The easy answer is we ran out of gas. The technical answer is that we quit playing defense the way we were playing defense," Byington said. "We let them get some open looks and some open shots, we made some scouting report errors, some tactical errors and we let the game get away from us."
Ike Smith led the Eagles in scoring with 16 points, while Montae Glenn ended up a point shy of a double-double. The junior from Carrollton had nine points and 11 rebounds.
The Eagles fall to 14-6 overall, and 4-2 in Sun Belt Conference play. Georgia Southern will look to get back on track Thursday night when they host Texas State at Hanner Fieldhouse.