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How the Georgia State men’s and women’s basketball teams fared over the Thanksgiving holidays

Damon Wilson walks back to the bench in Friday's loss against Duke. Photo by Xae | The Signal

The Georgia State men’s and women’s basketball teams each hit the GSU Sports Arena hardwood over the break before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The men, who returned home from their West Coast victory against Prairie View, faced off against another tough out-of-conference opponent in the Charlotte 49ers. 

The women entered their game against Alabama A&M still seeking their first win of the season. So, how did the teams fare?

 

Women’s Basketball vs. Alabama A&M Bulldogs 

The Georgia State women’s basketball team took on the Alabama A&M Bulldogs Tuesday night at the GSU Sports Arena. Despite playing hard the entire 40 minutes, the ladies fell 67-52. With this loss, the Panthers fell to 0-4 on the season. 

Sophomore forward Taylor Hosendove led the team in scoring with 14 points, on 5-of-12 shooting, prior to fouling out of the game. Fellow guard Taylor Henderson added 10 points of her own on 4-of-9 shooting.

Shooting would be a struggle for the Panthers all night long. The team finished the game shooting a lackluster 34.5% from the field. The team did a fantastic job with ball movement and getting to the rim, but lacked the finishing in critical moments of the contest. To their defense, the Panthers would see many agonizing rim outs, which halted any attempt at making a run at the Bulldogs.

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The ultimate killer of head coach Gene Hill’s ladies was the turnovers. The Panthers finished the game with 27 of them, a number that would cripple any team in basketball. Poor entry passing, along with some sloppy transition passes, added up throughout the evening. The turnovers equated to 25 points for the Bulldogs, which did not help the team generate any momentum.

“It was [a problem] across the board,” Hill said. “Every player who went in the game had at least one turnover, and any time you’re playing and you commit 27 turnovers, [you’re] probably not going to win many of those.”

Despite being the two highest scorers of the game, Hosendove led the team with 6 turnovers and Henderson added 5 of her own. 

The team also struggled heavily on the boards, as the Bulldogs made their presence felt down low. The Panthers gave up 22 offensive rebounds, which gifted the Bulldogs with 15 second-chance points.

“You look at their shooting percent, they didn’t shoot great either, but because of extra opportunities they had, that was the big difference,” Hill said. “So, we have to do a better job there.” 

In addition to the rebounding issues, the frontcourt of Georgia State couldn’t contain sophomore Bulldogs forward Dariauna Lewis. Lewis finished the game with 21 points and 20 rebounds and looked unstoppable for all 30 minutes she played. 

The Panthers had their moments Tuesday night, looking very good defensively at many points of the game. The team implemented a half-court press, aimed at trapping all corners. The ladies were able to force 19 turnovers, 6 of which came from back-to-back possessions. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalize on these consistent turnovers, only scoring 15 points off of them.  

Following the defeat, the team headed out to El Paso, Texas, to take part in the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic. 

The team could not have asked for a better start, as it not only picked up its first win of the season, program win No. 600 as well in a 59-51 over the New Mexico State Aggies. Both Henderson and Hosendove finished in double figures, while freshman Moriah Taylor led the defensive charge with a career-high three steals and four rebounds. 

Following their first victory of the season, the women put up a valiant fight against the University of Texas at El Paso Miners, but fell 71-68. The team squares off against Furman on Thursday.  

Men’s Basketball vs. Charlotte 49ers 

The Georgia State Panthers men’s basketball team defeated the Charlotte 49ers 81-78 the day before Thanksgiving. The Panthers triumphed in overtime, after originally trailing by five points with two minutes to go in regulation.

The Panthers are currently on a three-game winning streak, which they will carry into the next home game against Dartmouth on Dec. 3. 

Four of the team’s starters were in double figures: Kane Williams, Damon Wilson, Justin Roberts and Corey Allen. Wilson and Roberts both had 16 points each, Allen scored 17 points and Williams scored 12 points.

“We just feed off of each other, just play the game, really,” Roberts said. “We never try to force anything intentionally. We all can really score. We all can spot-up shoot. We all can drive. We’re all really good passers, so we just play off of each other.”

Roberts scored two quick threes at the end of regulation in order to send the game to overtime and Allen scored seven points in overtime in order to seal the win for the Panthers.

Coach Lanier was highly impressed with the two guards and their scoring, but he did have some critiques of the defensive performance, which allowed the 49ers to shoot 49.1% from the field and to attempt 23 free throws.

“They were getting to the rim a little bit more easily than we would have liked,” Lanier said. “We wound up fouling in those situations because we were giving up too much penetration, biting on shot fakes and allowing penetration that led to plays that led to fouls.”

After a rough start to the season, which included defeats to both the Duke Blue Devils and Georgetown Hoyas, the Panthers seem to be finally finding their footing and turning their season around.