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Southern falls short at State
Georgia Southern forward Angel Matias (center) is surrounded by Georgia State defenders as he lays up a shot against the Panthers on Friday in Atlanta. (RANDY WILSON/Georgia State Athletics) - photo by Photo courtesy Georgia State Athletics

    ATLANTA — In a game of runs, Georgia Southern came up short against Georgia State on Friday night in Atlanta.
    The Panthers strung their lead out to 12-points late in contest that had 14 total lead changes.
    “I was happy with the way we played tonight, we adjusted well at halftime to what Georgia State was doing,” GSU coach Mark Byington said. “I thought our guards did a good job of directing us, but we didn’t do a great job finishing at the rim. We had been shooting well at the free throw line recently, but we didn’t have the rhythm tonight.”
    Brian Holmes led the Eagles (6-7) in their final non-conference matchup with the Panthers in a career night. He finished the game with 19 points and seven assists. Overall three Eagles finished in double figures with Jelani Hewitt posting 15 and nine rebounds while Tre Bussey had 13 points in 39 minutes of play.
    As a team, Georgia Southern shot 42.3 percent from the field. The Eagles were 22-of-52 from the floor and 11-of-26 from 3. Southern had 13 assists on the night, a season-best against Division I opposition.
Manny Atkins led the Panthers (5-6) with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan Harrow scored 22 points while R.J. Hunter had 16 points on the night.
The Eagles trailed 36-29 at the break, but came out with an 11-3 run to start the second half to post their first lead of the second stanza. The Panthers, however, took the lead with 13:02 left in the second half and didn’t look back, stringing together a 12-2 run to take control of the contest.
The Eagles will get a few days off for the holiday break before returning to the practice court on Christmas Day. Georgia Southern’s next game is on December 28th with a trip to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.