Georgia State handed first loss of season by Richmond Spiders 94-78

On Tuesday night, the Georgia State Panthers fell to the Richmond Spiders 94-78, their first loss of the season in what Rob Lanier described as a “disappointing” loss for the team. 

Kane Williams led Georgia State with 17 points and knocked down a season-high three three-pointers. Justin Roberts added 16 points, while Evan Johnson came off the bench to finish with 15 points and five of the Panthers’ 11 total assists.

Corey Allen struggled to find a rhythm, scoring seven points on 3-11 shooting and 1-4 on three-pointers. It was his first game of the young season scoring less than 20 points.

As a unit, the Panthers shot under 45% from the field and on three-pointers. They shot 10-20 from the free-throw line and had more turnovers (13) than assists (11).

“There’s a reality that came out of this game that we’ve just got a long way to go as a team,” Lanier said.

It wasn’t so much that the Panthers struggled early; instead, it was the defense that couldn’t stop the Spiders’ scoring barrages. Nelson Phillips cut the deficit to just five points with 4:33 left in the first half, the closest the game would be for the rest of the night. 

“In my mind, we’re going to be in this game when it really matters. So when we cut it to five, I just expected the game to change. And then they shot it well,” Lanier said. “We had a couple of bad possessions, turnovers and we had just created a situation where we had a slim margin for error, and we had too much error.”

It’s never easy to win a basketball game down 13 at halftime, especially when the opposing side shoots above 60% from the field and makes over half their threes. At one point, it was a 32-point lead for the Spiders with 6:25 to go in the second half. The Panthers never led throughout the entire game.

“When we play games, I never think it’s going to go the way it went tonight. I don’t care how good of a start the other team [has],” Lanier said.

Late in the second half, Lanier emptied his bench and gave a few of the newcomers a chance to get playtime. Chien-Hao Ma scored his first college basketball points on a corner three-pointer with two minutes left in the second half. He followed it up with a layup a minute and a half later to finish with five points in his third career game. 

Georgia State’s rotation isn’t perfect, but there’s plenty of time left for them to fix their flaws and come together as a unit.

“That’s the beauty of a season: you really do have to do it day by day and one game at a time,” Lanier said. “It’s a process. You can feel on top of the world after one game and you can feel like the end of the world the next. But, we do have to develop a level of consistency each day in practice and continue to look at a bigger picture, come in each day trying to get better and figure out where we need to get better. This is a great opportunity for us to grow.”

Georgia State will have a few days off from games before heading to the Legendes Classic at High Point in North Carolina. They’ll face the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. EST. Then, they’ll play the winner of the Howard Bison and High Point Panthers on Sunday afternoon.