GREENVILLE, S.C. - Senior guard Elton Nesbitt scored a game-high 24 points as Georgia Southern claimed the Southern Conference regular-season title and the top seed in the league's upcoming tournament with an 86-61 win over Furman on Sunday.
Louis Graham added 19 points and Donte Gennie 16 for the Eagles (20-8, 11-4) who won for the eighth time in their last nine outings, and avenged an earlier 3-point loss to Furman.
Georgia Southern draws a first-round bye in the tournament, which begins Thursday in Charleston, and will face Wofford or Appalachian State on Friday.
The Eagles' regular-season title assures them of a bid to the National Invitation Tournament later in March.
Moussa Diagne scored 19 points to lead the Paladins (15-12, 8-7), who drew the tournament's sixth seed and will play No. 11, The Citadel, on Thursday.
Gennie's breakaway layup at the 13-minute mark of the first half broke a 13-13 tie and ignited a 19-5 Eagle run. Gennie had 7 during the run.
Georgia Southern led by 11 points at the halftime (38-27). The Eagles opened the second half with a 14-4 run for a 52-31 lead on Nesbitt's 3-pointer with 15:15 left.
The Eagles' largest lead was 30 points on two Gennie free throws with just over 7 minutes remaining.
Graham grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and Nesbitt eight as Georgia Southern controlled the boards 39-24.
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