Williams bounces back to spark Georgia State win

Georgia State Panthers basketball clipboard.
Georgia State Panthers basketball clipboard.

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

There were plenty of positive signs to come out of Georgia State’s win Friday, but perhaps none better than the return to form of guard Kane Williams.

Williams, a senior named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team, emerged from a troublesome three-game slump to score 15 points and help the Panthers to an 80-68 win over Troy at the GSU Sports Arena.

A 6-foot-4 native of Douglasville, Williams had gone 7-for-28 from the floor with a combined 25 points over the previous three games. On Friday, he was 5-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers, scoring six of the team’s first eight points. Williams added four rebounds and four assists.

The experience of Williams was evident in the second half during a sequence that saw him knock down a 3-pointer to end a long possession. On the next possession he fired a pass to Eliel Nsoseme for a dunk that gave Georgia State a 13-point lead. It was one of 19 assists on 32 baskets for the Panthers.

The win was the second consecutive for Georgia State (10-5, 4-4 Sun Belt), which had its past two games canceled because of COVID-19 issues. The Panthers host Troy again at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Although Troy was in last place in the Eastern Division, the Trojans (10-13, 4-9) have been a tough matchup for Georgia State. Troy had won six of the past eight against the Panthers, including three of the past four in Atlanta.

All five Georgia State starters scored in double figures. Corey Allen and Jalen Thomas joined Williams with 15 points and Nsoseme and Justin Roberts each scored 12. Nsoseme had nine rebounds and Roberts added nine assists, playing through some pain after hitting the court hard after he was fouled on a drive to the basket.

After seeing his streak of double-digit scoring games end at six, Troy’s Nick Stampley regained his touch against the Panthers. He scored 10 in the first half and wound up with 18. The Trojans also got 16 points from Douglasville’s Khalyl Waters and 12 from freshman Duke Miles.

Georgia State raced to a quick 11-4 lead, but Troy scored nine consecutive points and took a two-point lead. From that point there were five ties and five lead changes – although Troy led for only 51 seconds -- before Georgia State scored the final five points of the quarter, including a three-point play by Thomas, for a 37-34 halftime lead.

Georgia State came out of intermission to score the first eight points and take a 45-34 lead. Troy never got closer than 10 points the remainder of the game.

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