“Obviously this was a huge disappointment for the guys,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “I asked a lot of them, and they gave us a lot. Earlier in the year and in some recent games, I didn’t feel like the effort from start to finish was conducive to winning. Tonight was the effort that a winning team puts forth.”
Although the Panthers put up one of their best inside games of the season – Eliel Nsoseme had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Ja’Heim Hudson had 15 points and seven rebounds – the shots just weren’t falling from the outside. Georgia State shot 31.7% for the game and only 3-for-29 on 3-pointers – a 10.7% success rate for a team that averages 35.4% from distance.
“Confidence,” Lanier reasoned. “I think the defense was good. They’ve got a long team. Some of it was shot selection, guys pressing a little bit, guys who are good players and they want to get it going, so that’s understandable. Sometimes our shot selection leaves something to be desired, and that can snowball a little bit and start to become a mental thing, and you see good players missing good shots.”
The 3-point shot was universally absent Saturday. Corey Allen was 1-for-8, Nelson Phillips was 1-for-6, Justin Roberts was 0-for-5 and Kane Williams was 0-for-5.
Coastal Carolina (11-8, 3-4) got 23 points from Vince Cole and 15 points from Rudi Williams.
Williams, who passed R.J. Hunter to become the school’s career leader in free throws, had a miserable afternoon. He was 1-for-13 from the floor and turned the ball over with 7.4 seconds left in overtime, slipping on a spin move on the baseline and watching the ball go out of bounds. Ten seconds earlier he had made an outstanding defensive play to force a jump ball and give Georgia State a chance to tie the score.
Nsoseme, playing in only his fourth game since returning from a knee injury, brought the type of energy for which he’s become known. Six of his rebounds were on the offensive glass, and he scored the team’s first six points of overtime from underneath the basket.
The Panthers were down by six with five minutes left and used an 8-0 run to take the lead. They had a chance to win it in regulation, but Hudson’s 3-pointer from the corner rimmed out and forced overtime.
Lanier wasn’t sure how his team would respond after Thursday’s last-second loss to Appalachian State, so he was encouraged by the effort shown.
“I thought there was more fight there tonight than there was on Thursday,” Lanier said “The end of Thursday’s game was so disappointing that it almost felt surreal. For our effort level to be high, for our overall work ethic to improve after such a disappointing result, that’s my takeaway, that the guys were remaining in the fight.”
Georgia State is on the road next week with games at Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday and Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
“We’re less concerned about our record right now than we are about our improvement and the direction this team can go,” Lanier said. “Whenever that time comes to be the best version of ourselves, it’ll be fine with me.”