Two days after winning their first conference game of the season against Louisiana, Georgia State got their second conference win in as many tries after a complete 73-62 victory against ULM. The victory marked just the second time this season Georgia State has won back-to-back games, with the last coming against High Point and William & Mary on November 20 and 21.
After a Nika Metskhvarishvili 3-pointer gave ULM a 46-43 lead with 16:06 to play, Georgia State outscored the Warhawks 27-16 to retake the lead which they would never let up. During that stretch, the Panthers hit six of their nine made 3-pointers on the afternoon, with three players making at least one.
Kane Williams and Corey Allen led the way for Georgia State, each with a game high 18-points. All six of Allen’s made field goals were three-pointers, whereas Williams hit two threes and went a perfect 4-4 at the free throw line. Elil Nsoseme added 13 points and 13 rebounds to secure his second double-double of the season, and his 4th straight contest with double digit rebounds. Ja’Heim Hudson and Jalen Thomas combined for 13 points and 5 rebounds, with the former securing 4 offensive rebounds in the second half.
ULM scored the first two baskets of the game, but then the Panthers came alive with tenacious defense and a relentless attack at the basket. A 4-0 Warhawks lead quickly turned into a 10-4 Panthers lead after the first three and a half minutes. This continued a very back-and-forth first half, with neither team going up by more than 4 points through the rest of the period. Nsoseme had 12 of his 13 points at the break, going a perfect 6-6 on his field goal attempts. Nelson Phillips came off the bench and scored six of his eight points in the first half, including a sequence in which he scored four straight points and forced a Warhawks timeout.
Georgia State has improved their defense over the past few games, forcing another 17 turnovers and outrebounding ULM32 to 25. After a strong 60% shooting performance as a team in the first half, the Panthers held the Warhawks to 41% from the floor and 29% from 3-point land in the second half.
Coach Lanier’s mindset changed in the second half, describing the team as switching defensive styles in the first half out of necessity rather than effectiveness, saying “We did not want to play as much zone in the first half as we did, but I thought the team showed toughness and leadership down the stretch.” Defense has been a major emphasis for Georgia State, and Coach Lanier wanted to get back to his roots coaching the defensive side of the ball better.
When asked about Eliel Nsoseme’s impact on the court, Coach Lanier said he “plays with passion and it’s infectious.” He went on, The healthier he gets….the more of an effect on the other guys he has. He is focused. I think guys feed off that.”
These wins for Georgia State could not have come sooner, as no matter what happens this weekend, they will be out of the Sun Belt basement. Next up on the schedule is the Alabama schools in Atlanta. Georgia State hosts Troy this Thursday, with tipoff coming at 7pm Eastern time. All the action can be found on ESPN+ or via Georgia State radio.