Eagles open Sun Belt Tournament with win

Eagles open Sun Belt Tournament with win
( Courtesy Ga Southern Sports Information )

Total Team Effort Sends Men's Basketball Past ULM

The Eagles meet Georgia State in the semifinal round of the SBC Tourney Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS – Mike Hughes collected 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal, and Georgia Southern held ULM to 30 percent shooting to earn a 63-55 victory in the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship quarterfinals Friday night in Lakefront Arena.

The win sends the Eagles into the semifinal round, where they will meet in-state rival Georgia State Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. ET on ESPN3. The teams split the season series with each team winning at home.

Tookie Brown tallied 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Georgia Southern (21-11), and Coye Simmons recorded a season-high nine points and added three rebounds. 

The Eagles played without starting forward Montae Glenn, who is ranked second in the country in offensive rebounds. Glenn suffered a knee injury in practice Wednesday and is out for the tournament.

Marvin Jean-Pierre had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists for ULM (16-15), and Sam McDaniel tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Ertel notched 13 points and three assists.

The story

ULM erased an eight-point halftime deficit and took a brief 38-37 lead before the Eagles answered with a 14-2 run. Ike Smith scored all seven of his points during the stretch, and a layup by Brown gave the Eagles a 51-40 cushion with 5:22 to play. 

GS forced two ULM turnovers and held the Warhawks to 1 of 14 from the field during the run. The Warhawks trailed by nine late in the game and had to foul, but the Eagles made 8 of 10 from the free-throw line inside the last 1:23 to seal the win.

Simmons scored the first four points of the game and added another bucket as GS jumped out to a 16-5 lead to start the contest. The Warhawks cut the margin to five late in the half, but the Eagles got consecutive defensive stops and Brown made three free throws to give GS a 34-26 lead at the break.


Senior forward Coye Simmons

"I tried to keep staying positive and do what I can for the team. I told myself that I had to step up for the team with Montae being out. I just told myself I had to go hard."

Head coach Mark Byington


"Our defensive intensity carried us throughout the game, and that's who we have to be and who we can be. We beat a good team tonight, and we'll enjoy it for about five minutes and then move on to the next one."

On the 2 p.m. local tipoff time tomorrow

"It's a really quick turnaround. We play them twice a year so we know each other well, and it can't be an extensive scouting report. That being said, D'Marcus Simonds was the Player of the Year and is a terrific, terrific player, and they have a ton of guys who can make shots. I think it's the best rivalry in Georgia. Every game is tight, every game is hard and they are fun to be a part of."

On Glenn being out

"We're going to miss Montae Glenn. He's really had a great year. I feel bad for Montae, but what a great opportunity for Coye. He got us off to a great start, and we don't win the game without him."

( From Georgia Southern Reports )