Roster depth pays off again for GSU in win over UNC-Asheville

After competing for three consecutive days in the Capitol Classic, the Georgia State basketball team has a much better feel for the ability of its roster. And it’s a good feeling, too.

The Panthers completed the three-day round-robin event at the GSU Convocation Center with a 74-68 win over UNC-Asheville on Sunday. GSU won two of its three games in the event – the loss coming on a half-court buzzer-beater – and improved to 4-2 for the season.

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“I would have loved to win all three because things happen,” said Dwon Odom, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “We came together more as a group, and as you saw, we’re going to keep fighting. One thing you will see from Georgia State basketball is that we will fight until that clock hits zero.”

Odom had another big game with a career-high 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. He averaged 21.6 points in the tournament.

Danny Stubbs scored a career-high 16 points and Kalik Brooks added a career-high 12 points for the short-handed Panthers, who were without injured starters Evan Johnson and Brenden Tucker for the second straight game.

“I’ve got to always stay ready because you never know,” Brooks said. “That’s like my mindset with everything. I like to do the dirty work. I don’t think my game revolves around scoring. I like to dive on the floor, take the charge, whatever it takes for us to get that win.”

UNC-Asheville led 30-29 at halftime thanks to graduate senior Tajion Jones, who drained five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. He didn’t make another trey and finished with 21.

“We challenged our guys,” coach Jonas Hayes said. “We put a lot of emphasis on him at the break that we’ve got to get him covered. We have a group of guys in our room, when they are challenged, they’ll step up and get this thing done.”

The game was tight throughout, with neither team leading by more than five points until Odom’s basket gave the Panthers a 60-54 lead. UNC-Asheville forced GSU to win it at the line, and the Panthers answered by making 12 of 13 free throws in the final minute. Stubbs was 6-for-7 and Odom was 4-for-4, and the Bulldogs never got closer than five points.

“We prepare very well, and today we were locked in and we were able to knock them down when we needed,” Hayes said. The Panthers finished 16-for-17 at the line.

Georgia State doesn’t play again until Sunday against Belmont at home. Hayes said there would be some rest and treatment on the schedule this week.

“What can you say about our guys to come out on a third day and respond with this type of effort to finish this thing off,” Hayes said. “That is what being in that mind space and working with that mindset is all about. It allows you to have sustainable success, to be unflappable, to be undeterred, to be committed to doing whatever is necessary to come out with a win. That’s what I love about the guys in my locker room.”