Georgia State overwhelmed by barrage of App State 3-pointers

Kalik Brooks (L) and Joe Jones III (R), with coach Jonas Hayes, were honored at Senior Night on Feb. 22, 2023 at the GSU Convocation Center.

Credit: Daniel Wilson

Credit: Daniel Wilson

Kalik Brooks (L) and Joe Jones III (R), with coach Jonas Hayes, were honored at Senior Night on Feb. 22, 2023 at the GSU Convocation Center.

Georgia State coach Jonas Hayes has used a lot of descriptors throughout the trying Sun Belt schedule, but after Wednesday’s latest loss he reached for a word he hasn’t used all year.

“Disappointed. That’s the word that I have in my spirit,” Hayes said. “And I’m extremely disappointed.”

The Panthers got behind early and could not overcome a barrage of 3-point shots in a 78-52 loss to Appalachian State on Senior Night, the team’s final home game at the GSU Convocation Center. The loss drops GSU to 10-19 overall, 3-14 in the Sun Belt. It was the team’s fifth straight loss.

“We’ve got to find ways to be better,” Hayes said “I thought we’ve done a good job of fighting and I thought we broke today a little bit. Our spirit was broken a little bit. Fatigue is a little part of that, but we cannot allow that to be an excuse for not finding ways to win.”

Georgia State was led by Brenden Tucker with 19 points and Collin Moore with 11 points and five rebounds. Jamaine Mann led the team with nine rebounds. The Panthers played without Ja’Heim Hudson, who missed his second game with a lower back issue.

Appalachian State (15-14, 9-8) wound up making 14 3-point shots -- the most allowed by Georgia State all season. Six of those came from Christopher Mantis, who scored 22 points, and four came from C.J. Huntley, who scored 14 points. All-conference guard Donovan Gregory scored 16 quiet points and Terence Harcum added 11.

Appalachian State ran away early thanks to some fine shooting. The Mountaineers were 9-for-11 to start the game, the last three of those 3-point baskets from C.J. Huntley. That barrage was part of a 16-2 run by App State, with Georgia State’s only two points coming when the Mountaineers tipped the ball their own basket.

“We didn’t apply enough ball pressure,” Hayes said. “They were too comfortable with the ball. I didn’t feel it from the get-go and they felt so comfortable operating their offense. We’ve got to be better now.”

Georgia State tried to make a go and twice got within nine points, only to succumb an App State run. The Mountaineers scored the final eight points of the half and led 42-25 at the break. The 17-point lead matched App State’s biggest lead of the half.

It didn’t get any better in the second half. Mantis started finding the range on 3-pointers, hitting three, and scored 13 of his points to help the Mountaineers build the lead and keep GSU at bay.

The Panthers honored Kalik Brooks and Joe Jones III in pregame ceremonies. Brooks began his career at GSU as a walk-on, was promoted to scholarship status in the fall and has played in every game, making nine starts. Jones returned after missed the last two seasons with a foot injury and has played in 13 games.

“I appreciate what Kalik and Joe has meant to this program,” Hayes said. “Those seniors are getting ready to graduate (although both have eligibility remaining) and they’ve given this program their blood, sweat, tears, effort, enthusiasm and love.”

Georgia State plays its final regular-season game on Friday at James Madison. The Panthers will begin the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Feb. 28 in Pensacola, Fla.