Sunday, March 3, 2024

Men’s Basketball Drops Close Contest to Buffalo

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Georgia Southern stages biggest comeback of the season, but falls by one in overtime.

Battling back from as much as a 15-point deficit to force overtime, Georgia Southern men’s basketball took multiple leads late but ultimately fell shy of Buffalo in the MAC/SBC Challenge return matchup. 

The Eagles (5-20, 5-7 Sun Belt) were without leading scorer Tyren Moore, and that was a major reason for a tough first half as the team struggled to score against the Bulls (3-20, 1-9 MAC). The Bulls opened the game with a 6-0 run.

Eugene Brown III brought it to within two points after a pair of free throws. The visitors responded to stretch the lead to 15, their largest of the game, trailing 28-13.

Georgia Southern responded with four points from Eren Banks and trailed by four after David Jones and Nate Brafford sunk all their free throws.

Buffalo extended its lead back to 12 by the end of the half, leading 45-33 at the break.

GS shot just 9-30 in the opening frame.

Trailing by nine with nine minutes left, Jamar Franklin nailed a three and Avantae Parker cashed in twice to cut into the deficit.

Brafford hit a pair of clutch threes to make it a one-point game with 1:57 left, and Banks hit one after a missed Bulls shot to take the Eagles’ first lead of the contest at 72-70.

Buffalo tied it up late, and Banks could not get the layup to fall at the end of regulation, needing overtime for the second-straight home game.

UB was held to just 27 points in the second stanza.

The Eagles took four separate leads in the overtime frame. First, it was on a three-pointer by Brafford, and then Brown III extended the lead back to three on a layup.

UB took the lead back on a four-point play, and Banks came back down the floor to make it an 81-80 game. The Bulls once again took a lead with 15 seconds left.

Holding the final possession, Banks missed what would have been a game-winning three as the Eagles fell 82-81 in a heartbreaker.

Georgia Southern shot 39.4 percent from the field compared to the Bulls’ 51.6 percent mark.

Banks scored a career-high 25 points, his first-ever 20-point game. Four other Eagles scored in double digits, as Franklin (15), Parker (13), Brown III (12) and Brafford (11) all reached the mark. Parker led the Eagles with nine rebounds.

It was the second time this season the Eagles had five players score in double figures. The 15-point comeback was the best GS had this season.

GS takes its final road swing of the season starting on Thursday at Coastal Carolina.

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