Timely Run by Panthers Closes Out Coastal, 92-80
Georgia State (18-9, 11-5 in Sun Belt) got hot at the right time late to put away a pesky Coastal Carolina (13-14, 6-10 in Sun Belt) 92-80 on Saturday, winning their third straight game and completing a home sweep of the Carolina Sun Belt schools. Head coach Rob Lanier was proud of the team’s growth over this homestand, saying, “I feel like this weekend, we’ve improved the most of any weekend of the conference season.” Damon Wilson and Nelson Phillips co-led the Panthers with 20 points apiece, combining for 7 of the team’s 11 three-pointers on the day. Justin Roberts continued his solid work, dropping 17 points and 6 assists. Kane Williams was the fourth Panther in double figures with 15 points. Chanticleers point guard Devante Jones ran the Coastal offense to great effect all afternoon, finishing with 23 points and 9 assists.
After leading by as much as 16 in the second half, the Panthers had costly turnovers and Coastal Carolina stormed back into the game, cutting it to as close as 69-63 with six minutes to play. But right on cue, Georgia State made plays late when they needed to, getting stops on defense and consecutive three-pointers from Phillips to push the lead back out to 82-70. From that point, the Panthers finished strong from the free throw line to cement the win.
Georgia State led most of the way during the first half despite a slow shooting start to the afternoon, making just 5 of 17 three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes. Coastal hung around, though, and kept it within single digits until a Damon Wilson layup made it 30-20 with 6:07 to go in the half. The half wasn’t without drama, as simultaneous fouls – a flagrant-one on Coastal’s Levi Cook and a technical on Georgia State’s Jalen Thomas – came after Cook’s elbow struck Thomas in the head with 1:13 to go. Ultimately, the Panthers rode strong free throw shooting – 16-for-18 overall in the first half – to a 43-32 lead at the break.
The Panthers go on the road next, traveling deep in the heart of Texas to face the Mavericks of UT-Arlington. Tipoff in the College Park Center is Thursday, February 20 at 8pm EST.