Georgia State defeats College of Charleston 72-55, maintains SBC tie at first

Heading into Christmas vacation, the Georgia State Panthers took down the College of Charleston Cougars 72-55 Monday evening at the GSU Sports Arena.

Now at 6-1, the win keeps the Panthers in a three-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Redshirt senior Corey Allen and redshirt junior Justin Roberts each provided Rob Lanier with 20 points on a combined 14-19 shooting from the field and 9-12 on three-pointers. 

Redshirt junior Eliel Nsoseme also got in on the fun with 10 points (on a perfect 5-5 from the field) and 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks on defense.

As a team, the Panthers shot 58% from the field and connected on 52.4% of their three-pointers (11-21).

However, as a team, the Panthers shot just 5-11 from the free-throw line. After tonight, they are shooting 60% from the free-throw line, dead last in the Conference.  Lanier feels no reason to panic. Lanier is not concerned about the percentages; instead, he finds the volume too low for a team this good. 

“We don’t get to the free-throw line enough yet; that’s part of it,” Lanier said. “But Corey, Justin, Kane [Williams], Evan [Johnson], Collin [Moore], Ryan [Boyce] — these guys are all good free-throw shooters, and we expect the numbers to kind of balance in their favor. I think all the other guys are getting better.”

After the win, Lanier praised Cougars head coach Earl Grant and acknowledged that the College of Charleston is not an average 2-5 team.

“I think one of the things that can help sometimes when you’re going into the holidays, one way to keep their focus, is to play against a really good team,” Lanier said. “I got a lot of respect for Earl and his program.”

The Cougars gave the Panthers a run for their money a few times throughout the game, most notably when Keegan Allen made a pair of three-pointers to cut the deficit down to just five for the Cougars with 11:13 to go in the second half. Five minutes earlier, Georgia State controlled the game with a 17-point lead. 

Lanier’s team went 3:11 without scoring early in the second half, and the College of Charleston used a 9-0 run to cut the lead down to eight. Two minutes later, the five-point margin marked the closest in almost 20 minutes of game time.

Then, the Panthers buckled up on defense themselves, not allowing a point for 3:01 during a 10-0 run, which put the lead at 12. The game never got to single digits again after eight straight points from Georgia State. With 9:41 to go in the game, Allen put the Panthers up 58-47; they led by double figures for the rest of the night.

Overall, the solid performance allows the Panthers to head into the break with confidence. They open conference play on Jan. 1, when they will travel to Coastal Carolina to take on the Chanticleers in a back-to-back slate of games on the first two days of the 2021 calendar year.