More COVID-19 woes: Georgia State cancels Tennessee State game

The COVID-19 situation that left Georgia State with only eight available players Saturday caused the school to cancel Wednesday’s home game with Tennessee State.

The Panthers had seven rotation players in COVID protocol Saturday and left coach Rob Lanier extremely short-handed for the non-conference game against Rhode Island. With the same scenario still in place, the school decided to cancel the Tennessee State game, which will not be rescheduled.

Georgia State (4-2) is scheduled to play at Mercer on Saturday.

“It not that we didn’t introduce them to the real possibility that we could still go through stuff that we experienced last year,” Lanier said. “That said, when it happened, it was still a jolt.”

Kane Williams was the only starter who was available. Starters Corey Allen, Jalen Thomas, Justin Roberts and Ja’Heim Hudson all were out, as was sixth man Nelson Phillips. Collin Moore, who has not played this season because of injury, had been cleared to play but was unable to travel. The Panthers are still without center Eliel Nsoseme, who is rehabbing from a knee injury.

The circumstances are similar to last season, when the Panthers had eight games postponed and one game canceled because of COVID.

“If you love the game, it always presents challenges,” Lanier said. “This is unique and unfortunate, but the reality is I thought we got better the other day through the experience. It’s a great teachable moment for us to use what happened on Saturday.”

Although the final score against Rhode Island was 94-59, the Panthers hung tough for the first 20 minutes and trailed by six at the half before the Rams pulled away behind a barrage of 10 3-pointers. The situation did permit key substitutes Jordan Rawls, Evan Johnson, Kaleb Scott and Kalik Brooks to get plenty of work and allowed freshmen Jamall Clyce, Chien-Hao Ma and Danny Stubbs to play significant minutes.

“I thought we got better the other day through the experience,” Lanier said. “It was a great teachable moment for us to use … what happened in practice leading up to that, how that played out in the game and then watching stuff on film and trying to get guys to raise their standards. Even under those circumstances, it was a good experience.”

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