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Georgia State 104-35 Brewton-Parker: How it happened

Kane Williams, Damon Wilson and Coach Lanier spoke on the upcoming season during the men’s basketball media day on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

Alas, the Georgia State Panthers have played their first game. Well, if you call a 104-35 final score a game.

Yes, you read that correctly. Game one of the 2019-20 season made school history as the 69 point victory marked the largest ever for the Panthers, as they routed Brewton-Parker College Wednesday night at the GSU Sports Arena.

Rob Lanier couldn’t have asked for a better way to polish off his first game as head coach for the Georgia State Panthers.

In the last few months, coaches and other players were very vocal when talking about Kane Williams’ leadership on the court. He was vocal all night on both ends of the floor against Brewton Parker, with an efficient 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting (4-for-4 from three) to go along with three rebounds and six assists.

Damon Wilson, the lone starting senior for the Panthers, dropped 16 points in the first half, missing just one of his seven field-goal attempts and going 4-for-4 from three.

Corey Allen played strong on both ends of the floor. Despite his 1-for-7 start from the field in the first half, he made some good plays and ran well without the ball on offense. The redshirt junior finished with 15 points and three assists.

As a team, the Panthers were 14-for-28 from three-point range, with Wilson, Williams and Allen being the ones who had the green light. The trio shot 10-for-18 from beyond the arc, a promising first step in replacing last season’s sharpshooters.

When I sat down with Coach Rob Lanier, he stressed how important it was for his guys to full-court press the entire game and get the pressure on. It worked like a charm. More importantly: the players enjoyed the results.

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Senior forward Damon Wilson talked about their journey during the offseason to get to that point after the game. 

“Since the summer, we’ve just been working so hard,” he said. “Getting in shape and defense. Boxing out, crashing the boards. We were really excited to come out and show everybody what we’ve done.”

For Rob Lanier, the win was humbling. Damon Wilson’s game-high 22 points were a good sign, and Lanier cited the work Wilson put in over the summer.

“Dame has worked his tail off,” Lanier said when asked about Wilson in a lead role. “We changed his jump shot starting in mid-July and he’s gone through the process — a long, tedious process — of adjusting his shot. For him to do that and to be getting the results he’s getting is a real credit. I’m really proud of Dame.”

Even the new faces to college basketball made their presence known on the court in front of the electric crowd. Freshman Joe Jones III finished with seven points and nine rebounds on the night, leading the Panthers on the glass.

“We keep a chart of how many opportunities [a player has] on the floor to get an offensive rebound, and of those opportunities how many times did you execute,” Lanier said when asked about the team’s 23 offensive rebounds. “We did some things that will translate for us as we continue to grow and try to become the team we want to be,” he said.

The team will look to continue its hot start to the season Saturday afternoon when it takes on the College of Charleston Cougars in South Carolina.

All games for the team can be watched on ESPN+ throughout the regular season.