Marshall sends Georgia State to fourth straight loss

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

It’s rarely a good time to visit Huntington, W.Va., to play Marshall, and Georgia State picked the worst possible occasion. The Thundering Herd was highly motivated after coming off a double-overtime upset home loss to Louisiana-Monroe and was playing before a sellout crowd at the Cam Henderson Arena.

Marshall lived up to its nickname, running out to a quick 15-point lead and coasting to a 103-65 win over the visiting Panthers, who lost their fourth straight, their seventh of the last eight, and fell to 0-8 away from home.

“It was a tough day at the office,” Georgia State coach Jonas Hayes said. “They are without question the best team in our league right now. We’ll continue with our process and continue to fight, for adversity is going to hit us at an inopportune time, but how can you appreciate the sunshine if it never rains?

It was the first time Georgia State has allowed 100 points since a 100-71 loss to Virginia Commonwealth during the 2006-07 season. Entering the game, the Panthers had allowed an average of 64.6 points with a season high coming in an 85-83 overtime win over Mercer.

“We have to continue to mature and grow and learn how to play through some adverse situations,” Hayes said. “I think our guys have a growth mindset. We have a group of guys who believe in the process. We’ve got to stick to it and we’re going to remember this.”

Georgia State (9-13, 2-8 Sun Belt) was led in scoring for the second straight game by Jamaine Mann with 12 points. Joe Jones came off the bench to grab a career-high 14 rebounds and Ja’Heim Hudson had seven points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Marshall (18-5, 7-3) was led by Andrew Taylor with 20 points and seven assists. Taevion Kinsey, one of the favorites to be named Sun Belt player of the year, had 18 points and 10 assists.

Georgia State had no answer for Marshall’s two big inside players – 6-foot-8 Obinna Anochili-Killeen (18 points) and 7-1 Micah Handlogten (11 points). Marshall scored 46 points in the paint. It didn’t help that Georgia State’s 6-foot-10 freshman Edward Nnamoko missed the game with an injury.

The game matched a familiar pattern for the Panthers. Marshall, ranked No. 8 in the College Insider’s mid-major rankings, ran off 17 unanswered points – a stretch that featured three 3-pointers and a pair of impressive dunks – to take a 20-5 lead. The Herd led 56-29 at halftime.

It got no better in the second half. Marshall had an 8-0 run, a 13-0 run and a 7-0 run in the second half. The Herd shot 56% from the field and made 11 3-pointers. The Panthers committed a season-high 23 turnovers, which led to 34 points for Marshall.

“We turned the ball over again and our transition defense was an Achilles’ heel for us, but we’ll get better from it,” Hayes said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

It was the first meeting between the two schools. Marshall is one of four new teams to join the Sun Belt Conference this year.

Georgia State will return to the GSU Convocation Center on Thursday to start a four-game homestand against Georgia Southern in the second game of the season between the two rivals. Southern won the first meeting 58-52 on Jan. 21.