Conversely, Canisius’ guards had a field day against Georgia State’s (2-3) zone defense. Chris Perez doubled his season average with 22 points and Billy Baron added 26 more. The Griffins’ made 13 3-pointers, the most allowed by Georgia State this year and the fourth time an opponent hit at least 10.
“We aren’t very good defensively right now,” Hunter said.
The Panthers will face Elon at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in their last game in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Georgia State fell behind quickly to the Griffins. Behind Perez, Canisius jumped out to a 19-8 lead in the game’s opening minutes.
“We are fighting uphill all the time,” Hunter said. “Every possession becomes so big. We have to get the lead and our starts aren’t the greatest.”
Still, Georgia State cut its deficit to 37-34 at halftime. The Griffins pushed their lead back to 11 on a jumper by Perez early in the second half.
Despite their poor shooting, the Panthers fought back and cut the gap to two on a layup by Harrow with 12:31 left. They would get no closer.
Perez drilled a 3-pointer to push his team’s lead to five. Georgia State’s Curtis Washington answered with a layup before Jordan Heath and Josiah Heath scored consecutive baskets to give Canisius a 59-51 lead with 8:46 left.
“We have to find our niche, find our groove,” Hunter said. “We just aren’t there yet. We just have to figure it out.”