Byington: 2018 a "great season" for Eagles

Byington: 2018 a "great season" for Eagles

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Head coach Mark Byington and his Georgia Southern basketball team are still hurting from archrival Georgia State's miracle shot essentially ending their season.

But Byington adds it was a great year.

"It's a hard ending, and you want to win a championship. But only one of 12 teams in our league can do that," Byington says. "I'm going to remember these seniors. Only three times in the past 26 years has Georgia Southern won 21 or more games, and these seniors did it twice."

Georgia Southern finished the season at 21-12, and in the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals. The Eagles could've continued the 2018 campaign in a postseason tournament, but Byington says the team declined due to multiple injuries.

"Montae Glenn's out three to six months. People don't know this, but Jake Allsmiller's ankle is the size of a grapefruit, and Mike Hughes' knee is really bad," Byington says. "I don't know if we could have a team that could play, unless we were trying to fight through an NCAA Tournament game."

Byington says the College Basketball Invitational and Tournament were both interested in having the Eagles in their fields.

With the 2017-2018 season officially over, Georgia Southern can now turn the attention to next season. With three-time All Sun Belt first team selection Tookie Brown, Ike Smith, Glenn, and Quan Jackson returning, Byington is excited to return to Hanner Fieldhouse next fall.

"Next year, there should be expectations on us," he says. "We're excited for it already."

Byington and the Eagles' coaching staff will hit the recruiting trail soon, but already have two additions to next year's team that will have fans optimistic.

Forward Simeon Carter will join the team next season. The 6'8 junior sat out this season after transferring to Statesboro from Iowa State. 7'1 center Tyshaun Crawford will also take the floor after redshirting in 2017-2018.