Georgia State couldn’t make it a third straight win against SEC competition, as they struggled shooting the ball all night and fell 79-50 to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Panthers beat both Georgia and Alabama in the 2018/19 season to put together a two-game winning streak against the Southeastern Conference, but that ended on this Tuesday night in December. The chilly weather outside manifested itself on the court for Georgia State in the form of a 33% shooting performance and a 26% night from downtown. After the Panthers made just 8 of their 30 first-half shots and Miss State took advantage with a 58% first-half shooting performance of their own, it was a 43-22 Bulldogs lead at the interval.
Although Georgia State clawed back in the game with an 8-0 run early in the second half to cut the deficit back to 15, Mississippi State clamped back down on defense and responded with a 14-0 run to retake control of the game and fend off the Panthers. The lead got as large as 31 for Miss State late before the final 29-point margin. The loss drops the Panthers to 5-4 on the 2021/22 season while Mississippi State improves to 7-3.
On a low-scoring night for the Panthers, only Corey Allen finished in double figures with 13 points. Nelson Phillips was a model of efficiency with 9 points on a 3-of-4 shooting night, all from beyond the arc. Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar scored 18 to lead all players on the evening and he was joined in double figures by teammates DJ Jeffries, who had 15, and Derek Fountain, who had 10. The Bulldogs out-rebounded Georgia State 41-27 as a team, as well as out-assisting them 21-9.
After hitting three of their first four shots and taking an early 8-6 lead, the Panthers went just 5-26 (19%) over the remainder of the first half. Mississippi State scored the next eight points to take a six-point lead, 14-8, with 14:28 left in the half. The offensive woes continued for Georgia State and the Bulldogs took their first double-digit lead of the game when a DJ Jeffries fast-break dunk made it 25-14 with 6:05 to go in the half. A lead that had hovered in single digits for much of the half stayed there no longer, as Mississippi State closed on an extended 18-8 run to take a 21-point lead into the break.
None of Georgia State’s go-to options could find their rhythm in the early going, as the senior trio of Kane Williams, Corey Williams and Justin Roberts finished the first half shooting a combined 2-14. And at the same time, Mississippi State got 13 each from Jeffries and Molinar to co-lead all scorers in the first half.
Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier said he was disappointed for the team after they had “three of [the team’s] best practices” in the run-up to this game, but he credited Mississippi State’s defense for the poor shooting night. Coach Lanier said, “I think we came into the game tonight with the right spirit and effort, and defensively I thought we had some gusto to start the game, but [Mississippi State] defended us and we didn’t make shots.” He went on, “The ball not going in the basket really created some frustration in our guys that kind of chipped away at us on the defensive end.”
Georgia State will now get set for their final home non-conference game ever in the Sports Arena this Saturday, when they will host non-D1 Toccoa Falls. Tip-off on December 18 is at 6pm Eastern.