Jelani Hewitt scored 20 points and Tre Bussey 14 as seventh-seeded Georgia Southern shot out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back, defeating No. 10 seed Furman 65-50 in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament on Friday
The Eagles (14-18), in their first SoCon tourney since 2002, face second-seeded Chattanooga (18-13) in a quarterfinal Saturday. Georgia Southern defeated Chattanooga Feb. 20.
Georgia Southern, which is moving to the Sun Belt next season, opened the second half on a 14-2 run, capped by a Hewitt dunk that built the lead to 49-29 with 13:35 remaining. The Eagles shot 57.1 percent in the half. Angel Matias added 10 points.
Charlie Reddick scored 18 to lead the Paladins (9-21) and Stephen Croone added 12.
Georgia Southern stole the ball 13 times (Hewitt with three), scoring 16 points off turnovers and 38 in the paint.