Panthers Outlast App State, Get Back to .500 in Conference Play

Kane Williams holds the ball in Georgia State’s 2019 game against Georgia Southern. Photo by Jordan Crawford of Thersday Night.

Georgia State completed their Carolina sweep this weekend with a 58-49 victory over the Sun Belt-leading Appalachian State Mountaineers. The Panthers led almost the entire way, taking a 12-point advantage into the intermission, even extending the lead up to 14 at one point in the second half. With three minutes remaining, after Michael Almonacy went on a personal 4-0 run after a pair of made free throws and a layup which afforded him a chance for a three-point play. During the stoppage in play, Corey Allen was assessed a technical foul and gave Almonacy an opportunity to cut the Panthers lead down to three. Adrian Delph hit the two technical free throws, but Almonacy missed his and-one free throw and it stayed a two-score game. A pair of Jalen Thomas free throws would push the Panthers’ lead back to six points, and from there Georgia State hit their shots at the line to seal the key road win.

Georgia State was led in scoring by Jalen Thomas, who had a game-high 16 points in the low scoring affair. Justin Roberts added 11 points and was pivotal down the stretch, attempting all eight of his free throw attempts in the second half and making six of them. Kane Williams had nine points and was perfect from the free throw line, going 5-5. The Panthers shooting woes continued as they shot only 32.1 percent from the floor, and 19.2% from beyond the arc. They were able to salvage the victory by going 17-19 from the charity stripe. When asked about the team’s offensive performance, Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier said, “Our offensive numbers won’t look good at the end of the year, but we only need them to be good for the games we have remaining.” Coach Lanier has consistently acknowledged the Panthers’ offensive struggles but continues to praise the defensive effort. 

The Mountaineers were led by Adrian Delph and Justin Forrest, who each had a team-high 12 points. They were the only two players for Appalachian State in double figures. The Mountaineers struggled to get anything going in the first half, shooting only 21.4% from the floor in the frame. Georgia State outrebounded Appalachian State 26-16 in the first half, and the Mountaineers had trouble finding open looks. Things improved in the second half – Appalachian State actually outshot Georgia State in the period – but the 12-point halftime deficit was too much for Appalachian State to overcome. 

The win marks the first time Georgia State is above .500 since they lost to UT Arlington to begin Conference play. The Panthers return to the state of Georgia this week for rivalry weekend versus Georgia Southern. They host the Eagles on Thursday, February 17th, at 6pm Eastern then travel to Statesboro two days later. Tip-off from Hanner Fieldhouse on Saturday will be at 2pm Eastern. Both games can be found on ESPN+ or Georgia State radio.

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