The Eagles play at Arkansas State Saturday night.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Tookie Brown scored 19 points, and Georgia Southern shot 58 percent in the second half on its way to a 67-61 Sun Belt men's basketball win over Little Rock Thursday night in the Jack Stephens Center.
Brown made 5 of 9 from the floor and all eight of his free-throw tries, while Mike Hughes added 14 points and three rebounds for the Eagles (16-7, 7-3). Shawn O'Connell collected nine points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Montae Glenn and Quan Jackson each scored eight.
Andre Jones was 7 of 12 from the floor and scored 18 points to lead Little Rock (5-18, 2-8), while Oliver Black tallied nine points and five rebounds. Camron Reedus scored 11 and made three 3-pointers.
The Eagles trailed by as many as 12 in the first half but opened the second frame with a 12-3 run, and Jackson's triple from the wing gave GS a 36-35 lead, its first of the game. O'Connell scored four points in a mini 8-4 GS spurt that pushed the margin to five points with 11:32 remaining. GS held the Trojans to 4 of 13 with six turnovers to start the period.
The Eagles final push was an 8-3 run that turned a four-point cushion into a nine-point advantage. Jackson capped it with a pair of free throws with 2:24 to play as the Eagles went nine of 10 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes to seal the win.
The Eagles made 23 of 29 at the foul line overall, including 18 of 21 in the second half, and the GS defense forced 17 turnovers. Little Rock tallied 13 second-chance points off of 13 offensive rebounds.
Redshirt junior forward Shawn O'Connell
On the key to having an impact
"I think it's just coming in there and bringing energy to our team. Sometimes, we lack energy at some point so I just try to go in and give all my energy and find open spots on the court."
On getting offensive rebounds and putbacks
"It's practice and execution and knowing the right time to jump and seeing the shot going up and timing."
On defense in second half
"I think we're really good in the press because we're all so long and athletic. It really slows teams down and gets them out of their rhythm so I think continuing to use that is good for us going forward."
On play in the last few games
"I think it's just playing hard, honestly. I just go in there and try to play as hard as I can and try to do what I can to help my teammates out."
Head coach Mark Byington
"It's a road win in February. You play a team for the second time, you know what their tendencies are, and they know ours. It was a defensive slugfest. We hung in there early with our defense. Our offense was abysmal for a while. It was bad shots and then wide open ones that we just couldn't make. It was a combination of both. Our defense held us in there, and I just told the guys in the locker room that I really felt like this game was won by what some people might call our bench, but I don't even label guys like that. What Shawn, Quan, Coye, David-Lee and B.J. did for us tonight was the reason we won the game."
The Eagles return to action at Arkansas State Saturday night, and tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET