Hot Shooting Sees Panthers Past Troy, 80-66
Photo: Jordan Crawford, THERSdayNight.com
Georgia State (10-5, 4-4 in Sun Belt) overcame a sloppy first half and turned in an efficient second-half shooting performance as they vanquished Troy (10-13, 4-7 in Sun Belt), 80-66, to earn their second straight win and work their way back to .500 in conference play. Leading by three out of the locker rooms, the Panthers started the second half on an 8-0 run to take a 45-34 lead and didn’t look back, riding a 60% shooting performance in the final 20 minutes to a comfortable win in the end. The Trojans got as close as trailing 49-44 with 15:01 left, but Georgia State responded with a 14-2 run to grab control of the game.
A trio of Panthers, Kane Williams, Corey Allen and Jalen Thomas, led with 15 points each – with all of Allen’s scoring coming in the second half. Eliel Nsoseme came up one rebound short of a double-double, tallying 12 points and 9 rebounds, and Justin Roberts offered a balanced game with 12 points, 9 assists and 4 steals. Nick Stampley led the Trojans with 18 points and Khalyl Waters added 16.
Coming off a pause in the program earlier this week due to Covid-19 tracing issues, Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier credited his assistant coaches for getting the team ready in a short amount of time. On what they expected for this matchup against Troy, he said, “Defensively, we felt like we were going to have to play one of our better games, and fortunately we won the game where we had some good defensive stretches.” Coach Lanier talked about the team’s need to continue to improve on the defensive end, specifically mentioning the Trojans’ 52% field goal percentage in the first half and saying, “At that clip, you’re not at the level we want.” But he added, “We had a good second half where we were able to string together some shots and rebound the basketball and we’re going to need to see more of that tomorrow.”
Georgia State got off to a fast start thanks to some strong early offense from Kane Williams. The senior from Douglasville scored six of the team’s first eight points and a Ryan Boyce free throw made it an 11-4 Panthers lead with 15:51 to go in the first half. However, the Trojans scored the next nine points, taking the lead on a Khalyl Waters four-point play just over a minute later. While Georgia State soon retook and would maintain a small lead for much of the half, the Trojans stayed in the game and Duke Miles was able to restore their lead at 34-32 with 1:58 left in the half. The Panthers responded by scoring the final five points of the half to take a 37-34 lead at the break. Georgia State forced 11 Trojan turnovers in the first half, which led to 12 points off of takeaways, but they committed eight of their own that Troy was able to turn into 8 points themselves.
Coach Lanier ended his postgame remarks by noting this is the Panthers’ first back-to-back home series in the conference season due to various postponements and cancellations due to Covid-19, and he emphasized that this presents to the team “a great opportunity to show some maturity coming back tomorrow.”
That game tomorrow, which will mark the latest of any Sun Belt team to play a back-to-back weekend series at home this season, gets under way from the Sports Arena at 4pm EST.