Georgia State showed a lot of heart in a 59-58 loss to VCU on Saturday, but ultimately saw their 10 game home winning streak snapped. The Panthers trailed by as many as 11 points in the game and had an eight point deficit with just 40 seconds to play. But with five seconds left VCU made the game icing free throw that gave them a four point lead and left Josh Micheaux’s three point shot with .3 seconds left meaningless.
"Tonight was just a great college basketball game, like a heavyweight fight," said head coach Ron Hunter. "I told my players when we walked off the court that I came to Georgia State to put our players in meaningful games late in the season. We played hard tonight, showed great effort and gave left everything we had on the court, in a very meaningful game."
The Panthers struggled offensively for most of the game, scoring just 33 points in the first 53 minutes of the game. However, the Panthers rallied over the last 6:34 and scored 25 points during that time. The charge was led by Josh Micheaux, who scored all 14 of his points during that timeframe.
Jihad Ali led the Panthers in the game with 18 points off the bench. Coach Hunter has experimented the last few weeks with multiple different lineups. The reasoning behind this is Ali’s production off the bench. For whatever reason, Ali plays better in that role. Therefore Rashaad Richardson joined the starting lineup against VCU and finished with zero points on 0 for 3 shooting.
The difference for most of the game was VCU’s ability to hit three point shots. The rams finished the game 8 of 24 from behind the arc, including the performance of Troy Daniels who made 5 of 12. Georgia State was able to mount a comeback late in the game because they picked up their own three point percentage. The Panthers started the game 3 for 15, but finished 4 of 6 in the last seven minutes of play to cut down the Ram lead.
Georgia State certainly has exceeded expectations this season. However, if this team is going to accomplish any more than it already has it must identify a go to scorer that can take over a game, and also must play better three point defense.