Panthers survive and advance to the semifinals

The last five minutes of the game were a rollercoaster for the Georgia State Panthers as they defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 65-62 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

After leading by as much as 10 points during the game, Georgia State lost their momentum with 5:06 left. Their season was in jeopardy, and they needed their experienced players to make big-time plays.

Kane Williams led the charge, scoring eight of his 23 points in the final 3:37 of the game. He got back to the guy he is, a two-way leader for a 20-win program who can ignite an entire team down the stretch through all-conference caliber performances. Big-time players make big-time plays, and the super senior’s steal with five seconds left secured the win allowing the Panthers to survive and advance. Williams’ potential season-saving performance came after the Panthers’ multiple scoring droughts throughout the second half. However, he wasn’t alone in the nail-biting finish.

Eliel Nsoseme played an exceptional game as well with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high three blocks. His most impressive stat of the night was his one-on-one play against Arkansas State’s Norchad Omier, who scored 35 points just hours ago. Nsoseme played like the all-conference star he is, limiting the Red Wolves leading scorer to just 21 points on 41% shooting.

Rob Lanier’s team struggled offensively, but the Red Wolves didn’t look any more comfortable shooting. Both teams finished under 38% from the field and made four threes on a combined 38 attempts. 

Yet, the game was pretty one-sided until the final five minutes, when the Red Wolves took the lead for the first time since the middle of the first half. The Panthers regained the lead with 3:36 left and then the two teams traded one-point cushions for a bit. After Williams drilled a late-three with 1:50 left in the game, Georgia State rode their momentum to the finish.

Georgia State will play the winner of the game between the tenth-seeded Georgia Southern Eagles and second-seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers on Mar. 6th at 7:30 pm EST.