TRIBE 51, GEORGIA STATE 58
Second halves have been unkind to the College of William and Mary this season.
After a tightly contested first half, during which neither team could gain a foothold, Georgia State University (6-16, ¬4-7 CAA) used a pair of second-half spurts to wear down the Tribe (6-15, 1-10 CAA) en route to a 58-51 victory Saturday night at Kaplan Arena.
The Panthers, who shot only 26.9 percent in the first half, found their stroke early in the second-half, starting with a small 5-2 run to take a 27-20 lead. Just two minutes later, a 12-3 run gave Georgia State a 39-28 lead and a comfortable working margin in a half, during which the Panthers shot 60.9 percent.
“First of all, we played good defense, which helped us. It got us going,” Georgia State Head Coach Rod Barnes said. “We took some really good shots [in the second half]. I thought in the first half we got some looks, but we were in a hurry.
“I thought our team played a little more aggressive [in the second half].”
Georgia State guard Dante Curry, who finished with a game-high 13 points, was one of the aggressors in the second half, making amends for his scoreless first half. Curry’s three-pointer with 15:54 remaining sparked the Panthers momentum-swinging run.
“We gained more confidence as the game went on, so then shots went down for us and we got some easy baskets,” Barnes said.
The Panthers’ growing confidence prevented the College from clawing any closer than six points the rest of the game.
“It’s kind of difficult when teams get out on the wings and pressure,” sophomore guard Matt McFadden said.
Sophomore forward Marcus Kitts, who made his first career start and finished with nine points and five rebounds, called the pressure “frustrating,” noting that it led to nine first-half turnovers, and ultimately 18 for the game.
Four Tribe turnovers in the final 2:34 of the first half gave Georgia State easy scoring opportunities. With 47 seconds left in the first, Georgia State forward Rashad Chase gave his team a 20-18 lead, slamming home an easy dunk after he stepped into the passing lane and stole an errant pass from Tribe junior guard Sean McCurdy. Those fast-break points from Chase were just two of the Panthers’ 19 points off turnovers.
Neither team gained control of the game in the first half, which featured eight ties and five lead changes. The College grabbed its largest lead of the game when McFadden hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to put the Tribe up 14-11.
With the Panthers struggling to score, the College had three consecutive opportunities to build its lead, but two turnovers and a missed jumper denied the Tribe from making a run.
“We just can’t score the ball,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “It’s unbelievable to watch. I think in the first half we missed five layups. You miss the easy ones and miss the free throws, and it deflates our team a little bit.”
Junior guard David Schneider, who played with a swollen right ankle, finished with eights points on 3 of 12 shooting, while junior forward Danny Sumner netted eight points on 3 of 11. McFadden came off the bench to score eight points in 19 minutes.
The Tribe concludes its three-game homestand against conference-leading Northeastern University (15-6, 10-1 CAA) Wednesday night at 7 p.m.