Georgia State falls flat in 81-58 loss to Iowa State


Monday night brought a “showcase” opportunity to the table for the Georgia State Panthers, and for a portion of the night, it appeared as if they could take full advantage against the Iowa State Cyclones. Unfortunately, that optimism was short-lived, and the Panthers ran into a buzzsaw in the second half in route to a 81-58 defeat in Ames.

In the early moments of Monday night’s tilt, it appeared as if Georgia State was both nervous and jumpy. The Cyclones jumped in front by an 8-2 margin, and the Panthers started 1-for-4 from the field with three turnovers. However, GSU would soon awaken, and eventually, the Panthers would actually claim the lead at 21-20 with 7:48 to go in the half on a dunk from Markus Crider.

While that lead was short-lived in the first half, Georgia State was likely pleased with the eventual six-point halftime deficit at 35-29, simply because the Panthers did not play well offensively. As a team, Ron Hunter’s club converted only 13 of 33 field goal attempts (39%), and the heralded duo of Ryan Harrow (2-10 FG) and R.J. Hunter (3-9 FG) struggled mightily in creating their own offense. The aforementioned Markus Crider helped to keep GSU engaged and Hunter managed to knock down two threes in the back half of the period, but given the level of play, the small disadvantage was likely fortunate.

The second half began with a 7-0 run out of the gate by Iowa State, and in a flash, the Panthers were in a double-digit hole that would continue to build. With less than 14 minutes remaining, the Cyclones had climbed to a 16-point edge and with the momentum trending in the wrong direction, that was basically it for Georgia State in their quest to take home an unexpected victory. Things spiraled out of control down the stretch, with GSU flailing offensively and unable to generate stops consistently on the other end, and Iowa State cruised to the final margin of 81-58.

It was not a banner night overall for the aforementioned duo of Hunter and Harrow. There were flashes of brilliance from both players, but R.J. Hunter finished the night having made just 8 of his 20 shot attempts (and 4 of 11 from 3-point range), while Ryan Harrow issued 5 turnovers against 5 assists while misfiring to the tune of an ugly 6 for 22 from the field and 0 for 5 from three. More than that, however, Georgia State simply had no answer defensively, and it was a jarring reminder that the Panthers could have issues on that end throughout the season if issues are not addressed.

The Panthers will be back in action on Friday night, with a road game against the Colorado State Rams, but Georgia State will not have another opportunity like this on a national stage for some time, and they will surely be kicking themselves for this performance.