The Panthers have arrived at the midway point of the season and look to keep the success rolling

With an 8-5 record, Georgia State looks to keep the momentum going in the second half of the season. Photo Submitted by GSU Athletics

The Panthers men’s basketball team has hit the midway mark of the season, and they currently have an 8-5 record. The team has already collected wins against Georgia Tech and conference rival Coastal Carolina.

Panther assistant coach Jarvis Hayes credits the hot start to the top, head coach Rob Lanier.

Hayes points out that coach Lanier has shown excellent leadership and guidance to the players and the staff, saying his leadership during the season has been “impeccable.”  

Hayes credits the entire roster and the system that Lanier has implemented for their solid play.

“When you look at our roster from top to bottom, we complement each other well, and the system Coach Lanier employs plays to our players’ strength,” Hayes said.

Hayes says the personnel is slightly different when asked what has propelled the team’s 81.6 scoring average, which is the 19th best in the nation.

Hayes says the team played a lot smaller last year, but with big men Eliel Nsoseme and Jalen Thomas, they have significantly upgraded their frontcourt.

“The style of play has changed a little bit, which now involves two bigs,” Hayes said. “We want to have drives to the basket, open lanes for shooters, kick out to the shooters and our big guys finish in the paint … The goal is still predicated on getting the ball downhill.”

Hayes says he does not feel that the Associated Press voters are disrespecting the team, referring to them not receiving a top-25 ranking.

“Of course, everyone wants to be ranked and see their name in the top-25. But at the end of the day, we are not, and everybody has a job to do and what someone thinks of us as a program is none of our business,” Hayes said. “We try not to get consumed in rankings and polls.”

Guard trio Corey Allen, Kane Williams and Justin Roberts have been a driving force for the Panthers this season. The trio combines for a whopping 41.9 points per game, which accounts for over half the team’s scoring.

Hayes says the three guards’ play has been “extremely important” towards the Panthers’ success for the season.

“The play of those three is unbelievable,” Hayes said. “They are just not able to make plays for themselves but can see the total development of the court and make plays for others.”

Hayes also believes that Allen got snubbed from the Sun Belt preseason All-Conference team. Allen leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game and is peaking from an efficiency standpoint.

“Corey did not get selected to any preseason all-conference teams, which I think is a snub because, in my opinion, we have three all-conference guards,” Hayes said.

When asked about the Panthers’ expectations the rest of the season, Coach Hayes made it known he’d only focus on the present.

“I don’t predict wins and losses, but you’re going to get a well prepared team and a team that gives maximum effort,” Hayes said.

The team will look to keep it going as conference play heats up in the Sun Belt Conference in their final five games of the season.