Georgia State’s road troubles continue in loss to Old Dominion

It turned out to be a costly trip to Norfolk, Va., for the Georgia State basketball team.

In addition to dropping a 70-58 decision to Old Dominion, the Panthers finished the game without their two primary point guards.

Starting point guard Evan Johnson left the game with 7:33 remaining in the game with a shoulder injury. The sophomore ran into a hard screen and was holding his left shoulder as he walked off the court with trainer Braxton Ziegler and did not return. Johnson will get treatment and be re-evaluated before Saturday’s game.

The Panthers were already without Dwon Odom, the other point guard, who was granted some personal time away. He practiced with the team on Wednesday night, but was not dressed for the game. Odom is the team’s leading scorer (14.6 points, No. 8 in the Sun Belt) and leads the team with 3.6 assists.

It all contributed to Georgia State’s road woes. The Panthers dropped to 0-5 away from the GSU Convocation Center and have three more road games before playing another home game.

“We’re still learning how to deal with adversity and that’s going to be an area where there’s always room for improvement for us,” coach Jonas Hayes said. “I thought our guys for the most part played hard, but they didn’t necessarily play smart. As we move forward, there’s going to be some things where we take a couple steps backwards. We just have to get back in the saddle and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Before his injury, Johnson matched his season-high with 15 points, going 6-for-13 from the floor with two 3-pointers and five assists. The Panthers (9-10, 2-5 Sun Belt) also got 12 points and eight rebounds from Ja’Heim Hudson and 12 points and four rebounds from Brenden Tucker.

A positive note for Georgia State was the return of guard Collin Moore. The sophomore, who appeared in 39 games over the two previous seasons, had not played all year because of a thumb injury. He scored 10 points with two steals in his return.

“He’s going to make us better,” Hayes said. “We’ve got to get him in the game. He’s been doing things the last month, but it’s different to get that game experience. I thought he did great.”

After shooting 63.8% from the floor with 16 3-pointers in Saturday’s win over Coastal Carolina, the Panthers shot only 35% with seven 3-pointers. Georgia State had 15 turnovers, leading to 19 points for Old Dominion.

A scary play occurred with 8:44 left when GSU’s Hudson was fouled from behind, lost his footing and fell flat on his back. The officials reviewed the play and ruled it a common foul. Hudson was slightly shaken up but remained in the game.

Old Dominion (11-8, 3-4) broke a two-game losing streak. The Monarchs were led by Tyreek Scott-Grayson with 24 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Chauncey Jenkins added 21 points, on 7-for-9 shooting.

Old Dominion took control of the game midway in the first half with a 7-0 run that gave the Monarchs an 11-point lead. Georgia State got as close as seven on a 3-pointer by Johnson, but ODU stretched the advantage to 17 points. The Panthers rallied thanks to consecutive 3-pointers by Kalik Brooks, Moore and Johnson and went to halftime trailing 33-25.

“We noticed they were closing in and clogging up the paint, so we decided to kick it out and play outside,” Hudson said.

GSU kept the deficit to 10 points for the first three minutes of the second half before Old Dominion went on a 9-2 run to take a 17-point lead and take control of the game.

Georgia State plays again on Saturday at 3 p.m. against rival Georgia Southern.