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The Georgia State Panthers mens basketball team hosted the UT Arlington Mavericks on Saturday afternoon. The Mavericks won in a thriller with a 30 foot 3-pointer by guard Erick Neal with 0.9 seconds remaining. This marks the second game in a row that the Panthers lost by a last second shot. “I’ve been coaching for a long time and this is the first time I’ve been a part of losing games back-to-back on a last second shot,” says coach Ron Hunter. Georgia State lost to Coastal Carolina 65-64 on this past Monday.
The Panthers started the game slow, trailing by much as five points. Red shirt senior Willie Clayton kept it close by recording eight points and four rebounds. Sparked by guards Isaiah Dennis and Jeff Thomas in the last three minutes of the first half, the Panthers went into halftime with a 31-27 lead. In that span, Dennis made two game impacting assist including one to Thomas for a 3-pointer.
In the second half, the Panthers came out the gate with a 13-2 run led by Jeremy Hollowell and Isaiah Williams. The lead eventually got as high as 15 points with 11:05 left to go before costly turnovers allowed the Mavericks to get back in the game. Freshman guard D’Marcus Simonds had two of those turnovers which sparked a run by the Mavericks. UTA’s guard Drew Charles hit three 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the second half to help bring the Mavericks back and tie the game 53-53.
Simonds came up big for the Panthers in a stretch where Hollowell was on the bench because of foul trouble. Simonds scored on all four attempts late in the second half including a jumper to put them ahead 67-65 with 22 seconds left. “The last two teams have been doing a good job of defending him but he worked his way out of a slump when we needed baskets and was able to give them to us,” stated Hunter.
The Mavericks full court press seem to be too much for the Panthers as they squandered the lead and eventually took the lead with Neal’s game winning shot over two defenders that put them ahead 68-67. “They trapped us in the corner and we had timeouts but we just panicked,” says Hunter, “but the bad part about the new rule is I can’t call a timeout and the player has to call it and we didn’t.”
The lost puts the Panthers at 16-9 (9-5). This is their third loss in a row after an eight game winning streak. Hollowell led the Panthers in scoring with 19 points (14 in the second half) and six rebounds before fouling out. Simonds had 11 points with four rebounds. Clayton nearly had a triple double finishing with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Mavericks are in first place with a record of 20-6 (10-3). Forward Kevin Hervey lead the the team with his 10th double-double scoring 17 points and totaling 10 rebounds. Charles scored 12 of his 16 points from behind the arch (4-8).
The Panthers host Texas State Monday night at GSU Arena.