Posted January 29.
2018 05:50:08 -0400 Georgia Southern has won the SEC East for the fourth straight season and has taken down the No. 7 Florida Gators in the opener of the season.
The Panthers beat the No 1 Florida Gators, 51-49, in a game that was split into halves due to a snowstorm.
Georgia Southern, a 2-3 team that has won just once since the start of the 2017 season, is one of the better teams in the country.
The Bulldogs are averaging 29.4 points per game and are shooting 48.6 percent from the field.
They are leading the SEC in scoring at 27.5 per game.
The team is also tied for the second-most points in the SEC at 6.9 per game with Auburn.
The Bulldogs are also shooting better than they did in 2016-17, when they shot just 31.6 points per contest and scored a league-worst 31.1 points per half.
The offense is the main issue for the Bulldogs, who are averaging just 21.9 points per 100 possessions, ranking them 37th in the league.
Georgia Southern is tied for 21st in scoring, but is also shooting a career-worst 43.7 percent from 3-point range.
The Tigers are shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Georgia is averaging 25.3 points per first half, a career low, but has scored 25.2 points per quarter.
That number is down from the previous season, when Georgia had a league worst 22.6 first halves per game, but the Bulldogs have turned it around.
The offensive woes have been most apparent in the second half, when the Bulldogs are allowing 35.5 points per 60 minutes, ranking 17th in both the SEC and in the nation.
Georgia’s first quarter was a disaster.
It took over an hour to get the game going, and by the time it got going, the Bulldogs had shot just 17 of their first 32 shots.
They had shot 40.5 percent and 28.4 percent from long range, respectively, in the first half.
After a pair of misses, Georgia had trouble shooting on the break, converting just 16 of their 33 3-pointers.
The rest of the game, Georgia was just 4 of 18 from beyond arc.
After that, the defense kept Georgia in the game.
On the Bulldogs’ first six possessions, they held the Gators to just 19 points per possession.
But Georgia was finally able to put a stop to the Gators’ surge after halftime.
The first quarter started off with a Georgia drive that ended with a touchdown and the Bulldogs took a 21-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Georgia made 11 of 18 free throws, including a pair in the closing seconds.
Afterward, the offensive problems continued.
After going into halftime down by 11, the Gators scored seven straight points to take a 17-14 lead into halftime.
But after a 3-pointer by junior center Sam Williams, the game ended in a close game.
Williams was suspended for the game and will miss Georgia’s next two games, including the SEC opener.
This is the second suspension for Williams this season.
The previous suspension came in December after he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery.