The road continues to be a difficult obstacle for the Georgia State basketball team to overcome.
The Panthers lost their ninth straight game away from the GSU Convocation Center on Thursday, falling 77-68 in Conway, S.C., to a Coastal Carolina team it hammered by 34 points a month earlier.
The loss was the fourth straight for Georgia State (10-17, 3-12 Sun Belt) and dropped the team’s road record to 0-9. The Panthers need to win their remaining three games to avoid a first-round play-in game at the conference tournament next month.
“We’ve got to get over that hump,” Georgia State coach Jonas Hayes said. “We’ll never give up. We will never lay down. We may get knocked down, but we’ll get right back up.”
Georgia State was led by Jamaine Mann with 18 points and nine rebounds, one shy of matching his career high. He scored in double figures for the sixth time in seven games. Collin Moore added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, Dwon Odom had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Kaleb Scott came off the bench to score 12 points, all in the second half.
“(Scott) gave us a lot of energy,” Hayes said. “He was ready when his name was called.”
Coastal Carolina (11-16, 5-10) ended a seven-game losing streak. The Chanticleers got 22 points and eight assists from Antonio Daye Jr., who went 12-for-15 from the line. The super senior transfer from Fordham scored 23 against the Panthers in the first meeting. Josh Uduje added 15 points and Wilfried Likayi added 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
The physical game got chippy early. Coastal’s Kylan Blackmon knocked GSU’s Ja’Heim Hudson to the floor and was given a technical for taunting him. A minute into the second half, Hudson was floored again and reacted by pounding his fists on the court in anger and had to be restrained by teammates while Daye chirped away from a safe distance. Hudson was so angry that he had to be walked off the court and cooled down by assistant coach Jarvis Hayes. The incident and ensuing persistent back pain did not allow Hudson to return.
“Ja’Heim felt the guy was being flagrant,” Hayes said. “Ja’Heim is our heart and he plays with a lot of tenacity and a lot of toughness. He had a moment where he was highly emotional, but we were able to get him back under control. It was a physical game and I’m going to check out the video of those plays.”
Coastal’s D.J Basey later got a technical for a flagrant foul with 14:48 left after hitting Mann with a high elbow.
The Panthers were already playing with a very short bench. Joe Jones, Evan Johnson and Jamall Clyce were unavailable, leaving them to dress a practice player just in case they ran short of bodies.
Coastal Carolina used an early 7-0 streak and took the lead, which GSU was unable to overcome. The Panthers got as close as 22-19, only to have Coastal parlay an 8-0 run into an 11-point lead.
Georgia State got as close as three points early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Moore, but Coastal responded with nine unanswered points to regain the double-digit lead. The Panthers cut the margin to five points on three different occasions in the final five minutes, but failed each time to get any closer.
“Our guys never give up,” Jonas Hayes said. “But we have to keep working on the importance of every possession, taking care of the ball and attaching ourselves on defense. We can’t allow our offensive struggles to affect us on the defensive end.”
GSU completes its road trip on Saturday with a game at Arkansas State. The Panthers play their final home game on Wednesday against Appalachian State.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com