Panthers Come Out Flat, Lose to Southern at Home For First Time Since 1992
Georgia State (18-12, 11-8 in Sun Belt) trailed the entire way for the second game running and dropped a pivotal rivalry match-up to Georgia Southern (18-12, 12-7 in Sun Belt), losing 79-70 in front of a sold-out Sports Arena crowd. This is the Panthers’ first loss in this rivalry since February 2017 and their first loss in Atlanta in this rivalry since 1992. A poor shooting night and costly unforced errors haunted the Panthers, as they shot 35% from the floor and committed 18 turnovers – 10 of them on steals by the Eagles. Justin Roberts led all scorers with 19 points while Isaiah Crawley led Georgia Southern with 18 and a dominant interior performance at both ends.
Georgia Southern opened up on a 9-0 run, forcing Coach Lanier to use a timeout within the game’s first two minutes, and the Panthers played catch-up the rest of the half. Despite cutting the deficit back to a single possession multiple times, that all-elusive tie or lead evaded Georgia State as the Eagles played timely basketball to stay on top. After a Damon Wilson layup cut it to 31-29 with 3:17 to go in the half, Southern scored the next 8 – capped by a David Viti three-point play – to push their lead back to double digits. Kane Williams got the last basket of the half but it remained a 39-31 Georgia Southern lead at the break.
The story remained the same for much of the second half, with the Panthers able to come close to tying or taking the lead but with the Eagles matching their run with a run of their own. A Josh Linder putback with 14:54 left got State back within 3 at 41-38 but the Eagles scored 10 of the next 13 points to push their lead back to double digits. Back-to-back fastbreak dunks gave the Eagles their largest lead of the game to that point at 59-45 with 8:02 left. The Georgia Southern lead got as high as 15 before the Panthers made their last stab at a comeback, cutting it to 8, 60-52, on a Kane Williams 3 before another Eagle run and quality foul shooting doomed the Panthers to a third straight loss.
Georgia State wraps up its regular season on Tuesday, when they host the Little Rock Trojans on Senior Night. Tipoff is at 7pm EST in the Sports Arena.