Georgia State ‘blacks out’ Brewton-Parker in home opener

Georgia State's Jalen Thomas goes through the layup line before the home opener with Brewton-Parker. The Panthers wore their new black uniforms for the occasion.

Credit: Stan Awtrey

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Georgia State's Jalen Thomas goes through the layup line before the home opener with Brewton-Parker. The Panthers wore their new black uniforms for the occasion.

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Credit: Stan Awtrey

The upper and lower decks of the student sections of the GSU Sports Arena were loaded with enthusiasts – most of them honoring the “black out” theme -- who were eager to see the newest edition of the Georgia State basketball team that’s been picked to win the Sun Belt Conference.

And they wanted to get a peek at those fine new black uniforms that feature script lettering on the front.

The Panthers did not disappoint the fans, serving up a 97-37 win over Brewton-Parker. But coach Rob Lanier is a tougher audience and he wasn’t as impressed with the lopsided outcome.

“I like the uniforms, too. They’re pretty neat,” Lanier said. “The uniforms were better than the guys wearing them.”

Despite the wide margin of victory, Lanier was distressed that the outsized Barons were able to come away with 15 offensive rebounds, but was pleased with improved energy than was shown in the exhibition win last week.

“We anticipate some growing pains with this group,” Lanier said. “And tonight was a good example of some of the areas we need to improve. We need to become more disciplined and we created situations where we needed to exercise discipline. We gave up 15 offensive rebounds to a team that – I think the guy does a good job with his crew – but quite frankly they shouldn’t come in here and get 15 offensive rebounds.”

Georgia State’s scoring was balanced. Corey Allen scored 20 points and Justin Roberts had 19 points and six steals. Nelson Phillips added 15 points and five steals. Kane Williams added 11 points and seven assists. Williams tied Leonard Mendez for ninth place on the career scoring list; Mendez scored 1,238 points from 2005-09. The Panthers used 12 players and 10 of them scored.

“There were a lot of unselfish plays … we took a couple of charges, we had some guys who have been struggling to make shots, make a couple,” Lanier said. “And with Eliel (Nsoseme, knee injury) out, there’s an energy deficit and we need that void to be filled collectively as a group, so that’s something that’s a focus for us.”

It didn’t take long for Georgia State to exert its dominance over the small NAIA school from middle Georgia. The Panthers led 9-0 just 17:24 into the game and coach Lanier had already subbed in the second unit by the 15-minute mark.

Other than a three-minute scoreless stretch, the Panthers experienced little pushback They enjoyed a 20-1 run and an 11-0 run in the first half – 20 forced turnovers reaped 24 points. Brewton-Parker coach Stephen Birchfield did everything he could and burned all of his timeouts in the first half, but nothing working and Georgia State led 44-10 at the break.

Brewton-Parkier (1-7) wound up with 31 turnovers and shot only 25.9% from the floor. The Barons’ top scorers were Floyd Davis and Antrell Williams will seven points apiece.

It was the first meeting between the teams since 2019 when Georgia State won 101-35.

“You’re trying to see some combinations, you’re trying to see some of the basic things that you practice every day and have an opportunity to execute those things against another opponent,” Lanier said. “And defensively, you just want to see your guys play with discipline.”

It was the ninth straight year the Panthers have won their season opener and the 14th straight year they’ve won the home opener. Georgia State will move into its new Convocation Center for the 2022 season.

Georgia State plays again on Friday at 1 p.m. when it hosts Northeastern.

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