Georgia State falls State to Appalachian in Sun Belt Championship 80-73

The Georgia State Panthers fell to the Appalachian State Mountaineers 80-73 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship.

The loss erases the Panthers’ chances of advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. Georgia State was outscored 45-36 in the second half and struggled to get into a groove.

Georgia State’s abysmal second half allowed Appalachian State to take control and win the conference championship.

The Panthers took a 37-35 lead into halftime, and it was downhill from that point. The offense came out lifeless in the second and looked sluggish as they crawled their way to just their first 20 points of the half. The prolific offense that scored 80 points against Louisiana-Lafayette failed to establish themselves tonight.

Georgia State struggled in the second half as the starting five failed to find a rhythm. The double-double machine Eliel Nsoseme only managed seven rebounds as the Mountaineers defense held him in check for most of the game.

Corey Allen, who scored 21 points in the semi-final win, scored just nine points on just 3-12 from the field. Kane Williams had five turnovers on the night and shot 4-14 from the field. 

The three-point shooting, which has been a struggle throughout the tournament, continued against the Mountaineers. The Panthers shot 39% from deep and both Allen and Justin Roberts, the team’s best shooters on the season, were a combined 1-7 from behind the arc. 

While the Panthers attempted to come back and even cut the deficit to four, it wasn’t enough. Georgia State finishes the season at 15-6 overall and their nine-game winning streak snapped. 

Last season against Georgia Southern, the Panthers suffered a similar fate and a poor second half in the conference semi-finals ended their season. While the Panthers advanced to the conference championship, they struggled to finish games. Tonight’s loss provides an example of just that.

It’s back to the drawing board for Rob Lanier and his staff as they look to a future as they look for their young guards to replace the losses of Williams and Allen.