Georgia State learns tough lesson in loss at Richmond

Kane Williams, right, scored 17 for the Panthers. AJC file photo
Caption
Kane Williams, right, scored 17 for the Panthers. AJC file photo

Credit: TNS

Georgia State discovered what it’s like to face a quality well-prepared opponent on the road Tuesday. And the Panthers learned they’ve still far from a finished product.

Georgia State was outplayed from the start by Richmond and lost 94-78 to an experienced Spiders team that was picked to finish second in the A-10′s preseason media poll.

“I guess I was more disappointed than upset,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “And there’s a reality that came out of that game that we’ve just got a long way to go as a team. Sometimes you go into a season and expectations are high that you’ve got a pretty good team, which we do. We’re just not quite ready for prime time.

“We didn’t show the mental or physical toughness it takes to beat a really good team that played some of its best basketball on their home court.”

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Kane Williams led the Panthers (2-1) with 17 points, Justin Roberts scored 16 points and Evan Johnson scored 13 points with five assists. Williams moved into eighth on the school’s scoring list with 1,261 points, supplanting Philip Luckydo, who scored 1,254 points from 1990-92.

Corey Allen, who earlier in the day had been named the Sun Belt Player of the Week, got in foul trouble early and produced only seven points – far below his 22.5-point average – on 3-for-11 shooting with three rebounds.

Richmond (2-1) had five players in double figures: Tyler Burton with 20, Nick Sherod with 16, Grant Golden with 15, Matt Grace with 14 and Isaiah Wilson with 10.

Georgia State next plays William and Mary on Saturday

The Panthers got off to a horrible start from the floor, making only one of their first seven field-goal attempts, and quickly fell behind 13-2.

“I don’t think we responded well to the environment,” Lanier said. “I think we got away from the stuff we work on every day.”

Georgia State trailed by as many as 13 points before a 12-4 run trimmed the lead to five points at 32-27 on a layup by Nelson Phillips at the 4:33 mark. But that as good as it would get. Richmond went on a 7-0 run and outscored GSU 17-9 and took a 49-36 lead into intermission.

“I don’t care how good a start the other team goes on, in my mind we’re going to be in the game when it really matters,” Lanier said. “So when we cut it to five, it was just par for the course that I expected the game to change. Then they shot it well and we had a couple of bad possessions, turnovers. We just created a situation where we had a slim margin for error and we had too much error.”

Williams was the bright spot in the first half. The senior was 3-for-3 from 3-point distance and scored 13. But Richmond shot 53% from the floor, including eight 3-pointers.

Richmond scored the first five points of the second half and later used an 11-0 stretch – including two treys from Sherod – to stretch the lead to 28 points at 70-42 at 13:50. Richmond led by as many as 32.

It was the first meeting between the two schools. Richmond improved to 9-0 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt Conference.

“This is one of those games where we’re going to have to watch the film and learn from it and turn the page,” Lanier said. “We’re going to have two days to prepare for another well-coached team on Saturday and I think our team can really benefit from what happened tonight.”

Georgia State plays again this weekend in the Legends Classic at High Point, facing William and Mary in the first game on Saturday.

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