STATESBORO, GA (ASU) – Double-doubles by Nouhoum Bocoum and Anthony Livingston weren't enough as Georgia Southern edged the Arkansas State University men's basketball team 65-60 on Thursday night in Sun Belt Conference action.
"I am proud of our team, but we are better than what we think we are," A-State head coach John Brady said. "We don't execute at critical moments. Our effort was good and we had a good plan that we carried out for the most part. This late in the year, the execution is not matching the effort and that's unbelievable.
We did some really good things at times, but we didn't execute enough. We have to make shots at critical moments and we didn't do that tonight."
Bocoum led all scorers with 18 points and added 11 rebounds for his second double-double on the season, first since Dec. 10 at Purdue. Livingston posted his SBC leading 11th with 16 points and 16 rebounds, but Georgia Southern (17-5, 10-3 SBC) shot 45 percent on the game to hand A-State (9-14, 4-10 SBC) a fourth-straight loss.
Having experienced slow starts in previous games, A-State started the game going toe-to-toe with Georgia Southern. The Red Wolves led by as many as five (14-9) in the first half, but the Eagles used a 10-2 run late in the half to carry a 31-27 into the halftime break.
Bocoum scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds in the first half to spark A-State. Included in his first half performance was a three-point play that gave A-State a 12-9 lead. Livingston had his double-double by halftime as he posted 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
The Red Wolves led the Eagles 21-19 with 7:23 remaining in the first half, but Georgia Southern went on a 10-2 run to pull ahead 29-23 with 4:15 left in the first half. A-State got within two, 29-27, before Georgia Southern scored with three seconds left in the half to take the four-point lead to the break.
A-State committed 10 turnovers in the first half, but the Red Wolves controlled the glass to a commanding 29-16 edge. The 29 first half rebounds totaled more than A-State had in each of the previous two games.
Georgia Southern opened the second half with four quick points for a 35-27 edge and later increased the lead to 12, 50-38, with 11:07 remaining in the game. A-State chipped away at the deficit, but never trailed by fewer than five the remainder of the game.
The Red Wolves went to the free throw line 10 times in the second half, but only made four for a 40 percent performance in the half. For the game, A-State struggled, going 8-of-18 (44 percent). Georgia Southern missed the front end of a 1-and-1 two times in the final minute, but the Red Wolves turned the missed free throws into points just one trip down the floor. The Eagles finished 5-of-15 (33 percent) at the charity stripe.
Georgia Southern shot 52 percent (14-27) in the second half and out-rebounded A-State 19-16 in the period. The Eagles shot 46 percent (27-59) for the game and pulled down 35 rebounds while A-State shot 42 percent (24-57) and had 45 boards.
C.J. Foster, making his third start of the season and first since late November, finished with nine points in 28 minutes of play. Jelani Hewitt led Georgia Southern with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Trent Wiedeman added 14 points while Curtis Diamond had 11 points off the bench for the Eagles.
"We've got ourselves up against a wall and we have to do everything we can to scratch and claw and fight get to where we want to," Brady added. "I believe we can do that, but we have to practice like we believe we can do it."