Panthers avenge earlier loss to TSU

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 1, 2001

ATLANTA, Ga. – Kevin Morris scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and rallied Georgia State from a six-point halftime deficit to a 79-75 win over Troy State in Trans America Athletic Conference basketball on Monday.

The Panthers (18-3, 9-2 TAAC) trailed 37-31 at the intermission but used a 14-2 run early in the second half to push ahead and never let up. The win set a school record for wins in a season for the Panthers and snapped Troy State’s four-game win streak. The Trojans (10-10, 6-5 TAAC) sliced their deficit to a point three times in the final three minutes but never could get over the hump.

Morris’ propensity for hitting long-range 3-pointers, five of which came in the second half, doomed the Trojans’ comeback.

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"We had plenty of chances at the end of the game," Troy State head coach Don Maestri said. "We missed some key free throws and had some easy looks and just couldn’t put them in. We had a chance to win this game, but we couldn’t execute late."

Georgia State exploded from the gates in the first half, jumping out to an 11-3 lead in the first four minutes before Troy State finally got untracked. The Trojans took their first lead, 15-13, on Derrick Davis’ 3-pointer with 13:44 to play and kept the Panthers at an arm’s length from there, leading at the intermission.

The Panthers rallied early in the second half. They led 60-53 lead with 10:45 to go and never let up from there. Troy State cut its deficit to 72-71 with 54 seconds to play, but couldn’t close the gap further.

The Trojans shot 44 percent for the game, hitting 27-of-61 shots from the floor. Georgia State shot just 38 percent (24-of-63) but outrebounded Troy State, 42-33. The Panthers also hit 18-of-22 shots from the free throw line.

Robert Rushing led the way for Troy State, recording 22 points along with nine rebounds and nine assists. Matt Holman added 14 and Derrick Davis 13 for the Trojans.

"A bounce here or there and it could have been a different outcome," Maestri said. "It was two good teams playing out there tonight.

Troy State returns to action at home on Thursday when the Trojans play host to Jacksonville at Trojan Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.