PORTLAND, Ore. -- Georgia State didn’t come away with the win it wanted from the NCAA Tournament, but the Panthers certainly opened some eyes, even if the final score doesn’t look like it.

The Panthers, with their inside game gutted by injuries and fouls, gave No. 1-ranked Gonzaga more than most expected before losing 93-72 in the first round of the West Region at the Moda Center.

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Georgia State led as late as the 13:09 mark before Gonzaga was able to exploit the Panthers’ lack of size under the basket. The Zags went on a 7-0 run to take the lead, but GSU hung around until Gonzaga went on a 21-0 run and led 83-58 with 5:32 left.

“With 11 minutes to go it’s a two-point game, and they had a burst that we could not recover from,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “Again, proud of our guys.”

By the end of the game, Georgia State was playing without Jalen Thomas, Ja’Heim Hudson and Caleb Scott, who all fouled out.

The biggest blow to the inside presence came with 6:20 left in the first half and the score tied 23-23 when 6-foot-8 senior Eliel Nsoseme slipped near the baseline while turning to run downcourt and injured his leg. Nsoseme stayed down on the court for minutes until he could be treated and walked off the court on his own power, albeit gingerly. He did not return to the game.

“I feel bad that Eliel didn’t get a chance to finish the game with us,” Lanier said. “He’s such a great person and such an inspiration to our team. It’s unfortunate that he had to finish the game from the bench.”

Georgia State (18-11) was led by seniors Corey Allen with 16 points, Kane Williams with 12 and Justin Roberts with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Gonzaga (27-3) got 32 points and 17 rebounds from 6-foot-10 Drew Timme and 19 points and 17 rebounds from 7-footer Chet Holmgren.

Williams said, “We gave them a lot of easy buckets in the paint and a lot of fouls. Those fouls kind of bit us. We just couldn’t overcome after that. We kept fighting. That’s all we could do,”

Georgia State had been hopeful of recapturing the magic of 2015, when it upset No. 3-seeded Baylor in the opening round. The Panthers had won 10 in a row and 12 of their past 13 games.

Combined ShapeCaption
Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, lower center, holds the ball as Georgia State's Collin Moore (24), Kane Williams, upper center, and Jalen Thomas (25) leap to defend during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, lower center, holds the ball as Georgia State's Collin Moore (24), Kane Williams, upper center, and Jalen Thomas (25) leap to defend during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, lower center, holds the ball as Georgia State's Collin Moore (24), Kane Williams, upper center, and Jalen Thomas (25) leap to defend during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Georgia State tried to attack the basket from the beginning, going to the 6-foot-10 Thomas, who knocked down a couple of early shots. The strategy had to change when Thomas picked up his third personal with 7:04.

With Thomas and Nsoseme out, the freshman Hudson stepped in and patrolled the inside. At 6-7, 230 pounds, Hudson had the muscle to stay with Gonzaga’s big inside guys, and he even stepped out and made a 3-pointer.

Caleb Scott, a 6-6, 230-pound forward who did not play in the conference tournament, was asked to fill the void, too. He had three rebounds in his stint, but had to return to the bench after getting four fouls in five minutes.

The Georgia State offense became more patient and ran play after play in search of an open look. Sometimes that came around the basket, but many times a possession ended up with a jump, including a pair of 3′s that Allen knocked down. Allen had 10 points at the break.

The Georgia State defense made Gonzaga’s high-powered offense work for every shot, and the Zags shot only 40% from the floor and 2-for-11 on 3-point shots at the break, which they led 35-33.

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Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier calls to his team during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game against Gonzaga, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier calls to his team during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game against Gonzaga, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier calls to his team during the second half of a first round NCAA college basketball tournament game against Gonzaga, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

With the Panthers’ inside game neutered – the 6-foot-4 Williams was playing on the blocks – Gonzaga opened the half by dumping it inside to their big guys and had a 45-39 lead when Timme scored and was fouled. He missed the free throw, and when Gonzaga had the rebound, it appeared the tide had turned.

But the Zags threw the ball away, and GSU scored the next seven points, the last two on Williams’ driving layup that put GSU ahead 46-45 at 16:05. The Panthers remained in the game until the Zags were able to freely dump it inside to Timme and Holmgren, who were unleashed.

“You’ve got to give credit to them and those guys. They’re really good,” Lanier said. “They’re formidable. They create some challenges for you. Our lack of discipline at times played into that some. But I had confidence in the guys that went into the game, and they played, they contributed. I’m not surprised. Just credit to Gonzaga’s frontline guys. They’re really good.”

Gonzaga advances to the second round and a game with Memphis, a 64-53 winner over Boise State, on Saturday.