The holiday season has come and gone, and while most people spend time with family and friends during the holiday break, the Georgia State Panthers remained busy. In fact, the Panthers played seven games during the winter break, and it is safe to say it has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Head Coach Ron Hunter’s team. Here’s how the Panthers fared against their opponents over the past three weeks.
Dec. 12, 2017, GSU (7-3) v. Point
On the first day of the holiday break, the Panthers made easy work of Point University — which, quite frankly, was expected. D’Marcus Simonds had a monstrous 33 points, and Malik Benlevi added 13 points of his own to go along with nine rebounds. The Panthers coasted to a 90-70 victory in the GSU Sports Arena and shot 52 percent from the floor.
Dec. 16, 2017, GSU (7-4) v. Dayton
This matchup between the Panthers and the Flyers was by far the most entertaining game of the season for the Panthers. Thus far — it was probably the most heartbreaking, as well. The Panthers held a two-point lead (67-65) with 4:25 remaining in regulation, but foul trouble plagued the Panthers and was the ultimate reason behind them failing to secure a significant win on the road.
“It is tough when you come on the road and give up 38 free throws,” Hunter said. “We have to do a better job of not fouling, but I thought our guys gave everything they had, especially with D’Marcus and Malik in foul trouble and on the bench for most of the second half.”
The Flyers would win this one 88-83.
Dec. 20, 2017, GSU (8-4) v. UMass
After suffering a brutal overtime loss to Dayton, the Panthers managed to regain their confidence against a subpar UMass team. Led by Simonds’ 24 points and a collective 16 made three-pointers, the Panthers won 71-63 at the Mullins Center, which isn’t a cake-walk by any means.
“A really good win for our program tonight,” Hunter said. We have had some leads in big-time environments and have not been able to hold on. To finish the way we did tonight is just huge heading into our final non-conference game of the year.”
Dec. 23, 2017, GSU (9-4) v. Chattanooga
Well, there is not much to say about this game other than the Panthers simply dismantled their opponent. Shooting 60 percent from the floor and limiting your opponent to just 30 percent from the floor will almost always lead to a massive victory. Georgia State improves their record to 9-4 with a 71-48 win.
Dec. 29, 2017, GSU (9-5, 0-1) v. South Alabama
Perhaps the most surprising loss of the season for the Panthers came at the hands of South Alabama. Simonds had 27 points, but the Panthers still managed to lose 64-86.
Dec. 31, 2017, GSU (9-6, 0-2) v. Troy
The Panthers shot a miserable 41 percent from the floor in a game where coach Hunter said ‘We had them right where we wanted them’. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they dropped a tough loss to Troy 66-68.
Jan. 4, 2017, GSU (10-6, 1-2) v. Little Rock
The second to last game of the break for the Panthers was a solid outing, as they outlasted the Trojans 73-64. Coach Hunter credited his team’s post play that led to the Panthers notching their first win of 2018.
Jan 6, 2017, GSU (11-6, 2-2) v. Arkansas State
The final game over the break for the Panthers came against a tough Arkansas State team. Simonds had a near double-double of 33 points and nine rebounds to lead his team to a 79-75 win in the GSU Sports Arena.