The Panthers lost a wild and wacky game on Saturday in Newark, Delaware to the Univeristy of Delaware Blue Hens, 74-77. The loss was their second in a row, and the third in a row to Delaware, and now Georgia State returns home following a winless road trip after losing at Northeastern earlier in the week. Against Delaware the Panthers held their opponent scoreless for the first eight minutes and built a 14-0 advantage. The Blue Hens missed their first 14 shots and it looked as though the rout was on. However, the seal was broken with 12:06 remaining in the half and from there Delaware would make 10 of their next 14 including eight three point shots to go into halftime with a just a 33-31 deficit.
"I am extremely disappointed by this loss," said Coach Ron Hunter after the game. "We played well enough at times to win, but you have to play the entire game to earn a victory."
"We played very well the first 10 minutes of the game, but allowed Delaware to make it a game the rest of the half. You have to credit them as they fought hard and started to make baskets."
Delaware would take the lead with the first shot of the second half, another made three point shot, which would be their only lead of regulation until the final minute of the game. Georgia State would stretch the lead out to as much as eight points but the Blue Hens stayed in the game behind the career day of Jarvis Threatt, who would lead all scorers with 30 points. Threatt’s performance as well as terrific three-point shooting combined with uncharacteristic mistakes by the Panthers in crunch time allowed Delaware to hold a 60-59 lead in the final minute of the game.
On the final possession of regulation, the Panthers allowed Josh Micheaux to drive to the basket and attempt to make the game winning play. Micheaux has shown great ability to elevate over defenders and use his size and athleticism to get to the basket. However, Micheaux would trip on his way to the basket and threw up a hopeless shot that got tipped around quite a bit before coming to Eric Buckner. Buckner threw up a desperation last attempt and as he did had his legs taken out from under him. A shooting foul was called on the Blue Hens and Buckner would make one of his two attempts to send the game to overtime.
In overtime the Panthers got two clutch plays from Brandon McGee, who got his first start game since the second game of the season, but the Blue Hens were able to respond each time and tied the game at 66. With the ball and the last shot, the Panthers called timeout and Ron Hunter drew up a brilliant play that gave Brandon McGee a wide open look for three at the top of the key. McGee’s winning attempt just rimmed out, but fell to the hands of Eric Buckner, whose putback attempt would circle around the entire rim before falling out as time expired.
The Panthers would not lead again as Delaware quickly built a five point margin at the start of double overtime. Georgia State would cut it to two and good defense gave them two opportunities to tie the game, but neither shot would fall as the Blue Hens would once again push the lead out to five points before eventually winning 77-74.
The Panthers were led in the game by double-doubles from Eric Buckner and Brandon McGee. Buckner finished the game with 19 points and a career high 15 rebounds. McGee, who got the start in favor of a slumping Josh Micheaux, responded to the call with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"Brandon did a lot of good things for us today," commented Hunter. "Our offense played better, but we are going to have to defend the three-point line if we are going to get back to winning. This was the second straight game in which we allowed teams to shoot freely from behind the arc."
Georgia State returns home to face James Madison Monday night at the Georgia State Sports Arena.