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Georgia State Panthers (17-10, 10-5 SBC) bounced back form a devastating loss on Saturday to defeat the Texas State Bobcats (15-11, 8-6 SBC) 67-51. Both teams came into the game needing a win.
The Panthers started off slow scoring their first basket at the 14:36 mark. Forward Jeremy Hollowel drove in and made a layup which kick-started the Panthers. Guard Devin Mitchell came off the bench and scored five quick points to jump start a 7-0 run which gave them a 16-12 lead.
After a taking the lead, the Panthers went on a drought going scoreless for a little less than five minutes. Turnovers helped the Bobcats take a small lead heading into the last minute until forward Malik Benlevi stepped up and hit a three-pointer to take a 24-22 lead at halftime.
The second half started out with the Panthers getting to a fast start led by guards Jeff Thomas and D’Marcus Simonds. Thomas got the start in the second half and hit the first two shots for the Panthers, one of them a three-pointer. “I thought Jeff had some bounce in his game and I thought about starting him for the game,” says coach Ron Hunter. Simonds scored nine out of the next 11 points to put them up by six.
Defensively, the Panthers played well although they gave up a few points at the end of the shot clock early in the second half. They started another run by deflecting passes and forcing bad shots near the end of the shot clock mid-second half.
Mitchell came off the bench and once again sparked the team by scoring nine points to ignite a 10-0 run with a little over 10 minutes left and they never relinquished the lead. “It was also great for Devin Mitchell to do what he did today. We needed somebody else to step up and he hadn’t played that many minutes prior,” stated Hunter. Mitchell scored 14 points for the game.
The bench as a whole stepped up for the Panthers providing 25 points. “I thought our bench was absolutely great tonight and that’s what we need down the stretch,” said Hunter.
The confident Panthers only produced 1o turnovers for the game. Hollowed had three key turnovers and two points in the first half but turned it around in the second half by scoring 14 of his 16 points.
Georgia State shot 56 percent from the field led by Simonds with a game high 18 points on 7-11 shooting. The Panthers are now in fourth place in the Sun Belt Conference after the win. Their next game is against Little Rock, Arkansas on the road this Saturday.