Junior Kane Williams who was earned All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team honors.
Photo: Ben McKeown/AP
Photo: Ben McKeown/AP

Five Panthers score in double figures for seventh straight win

The Georgia State basketball team was stymied much of the afternoon against Texas State. Every time the Panthers would get close to the lead, they would get pushed away, but once they got the lead for keeps, they were unstoppable. 

Georgia State’s 14-0 run broke open what had been a close game and led to an 81-69 win Saturday over the Bobcats at the GSU Sports Arena. It was the seventh straight win for the Panthers (8-3, 2-0 Sun Belt), who have won 11 in a row at home. Texas State had been the last visiting team to win on Georgia State’s court.

“I thought the pace and our quickness and our depth helped us at the end,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “And we made some plays defensively and had some tough finishes on some tough plays.”

The points during the run came in a hurry — a three-point play from Nelson Phillips, a 3-point play from Damon Wilson, five straight free throws from Kane Williams and a 3-pointer from Wilson. In about five minutes the Panthers had gone from a deficit to a 13-point lead. 

“We drove the ball with some toughness and we made some free throws,” Lanier said. “The way they defend makes it difficult for you to be smooth offensively. We’ve got to get better at doing some things to help our guys, but we finished strong.”

Georgia State had five players in double figures: Justin Roberts and Corey Allen with 17; Williams and Phillips with 12; and Wilson with 11. Joe Jones III had eight points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Texas State (7-6, 0-2) was led by Eric Terry with 19 points. 

Texas State put Georgia State in a difficult position early in the first half with an 11-0 run that saw the Panthers go nearly four minutes without scoring. That drought, which saw Georgia State go 1-for-14 from the field, ended when Corey Allen hit his second 3-pointer to stop the bleeding at 17-6.

“We dug ourselves a significant hole,” Lanier said. “I did feel like we would make our run at some point. The question was when and how well. Again, we have some grit, we’re a competitive group.” 

Georgia State gradually climbed back into the game with Roberts scoring 10 straight points, including a jumper off a fast break that got the Panthers within two points. Roberts later had a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game and Damon Wilson followed with a layup to give Georgia State their first lead of the game at 35-34. Texas State scored the final four points and led 38-35 at the half. 

“We made some defensive changes,” Lanier said. “We got out in transition a little bit and we did get some good looks in the first half that didn’t go down. I think we’ve got to grow to the point where missing a shot doesn’t take away from our intensity on defense.” 

Georgia State plays Monday at SMU. 

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