ATLANTA-Georgia State rallied from a 12-point second half deficit but fell to Delaware in overtime for the second time this season, 80-77, Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.
GSU's Josh Micheaux scored 26 points, his career best and the high for any Panther this season, but the Panthers suffered their fifth conference loss by three points or fewer to fall to 17-9, 9-6 in the CAA. Jihad Ali hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session, and the Panthers had a shot to tie at the end of the overtime, but Rashaad Richardson's three-point attempt with three seconds left was off the mark.
Delaware improved to 13-12 overall, 9-6 CAA to tie Georgia State for fifth place in the conference, two games behind Old Dominion, which fell today to VCU. Jarvis Threatt led the Blue Hens with 19 points off the bench, including 13-of-15 from the free throw line. Josh Brinkley scored 18 points, and Devon Saddler added 17.
"This was a very good college basketball game tonight," commented head coach Ron Hunter. "I thought we were out-toughed in the first half and was disappointed in our team, but I talked to them about that at halftime and they responded in the second half.
"We responded extremely well in the second half. We played really hard. I thought the second half was the best half that we have played all year. But we tip our hats to Delaware. They are a very good team and they match-up very well with us."
Trailing 43-31 early in the second half, Georgia State scored 17 straight points to build a 48-43 led at the 12:38 mark. Micheaux scored eight points on the run, tying the game with a three-point play and then giving the Panthers the lead with a driving layup.
Micheaux's three-pointer put the Panthers ahead 60-56 with five minutes to play before Saddler hit back-to-back treys, the second one tying the game at 62-all with 3:57 to play. From there neither team led by more than two points.
With the game tied at 68-68, Micheaux was called for an offensive foul with 1:04 left. Delaware ran down the shot clock, and Threatt drove the lane. It appeared that he might not get a shot off before the shot clock expired, but Micheaux was whistled for his fifth foul. Threatt made both foul shots for a two-point lead, and then Ali answered with a pair with 14 seconds left to knot the score at 70-all.
A layup by James Fields gave the Panthers their only lead of the overtime at 72-71 with 3:11 to play, but Delaware's Kyle Anderson answered with a three-pointer to give the Blue Hens the lead for good.
Delaware led 79-74 when Richardson nailed a trey with 11 seconds left to pull the Panthers within two. After Threatt made one of two free throws, Richardson had another good look from three with three seconds left, but his shot was off the mark.
The game featured 11 lead changes and nine ties, and the two teams combined to shoot 50 free throws, with Delaware hitting 26-of-32 and GSU connecting on 22-of-28 from the stripe. But the Blue Hens managed 47 percent shooting from the field to 38 percent for the Panthers.
Ali just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Devonta White added 13 points and five boards.
The Panthers shot 78.6 percent from the free throw line, knocking down 22-of-28, while Delaware made 81.3 percent. A total of 47 fouls were called in the game as four players fouled out.
Delaware shot 50 percent (14-for-28) in the first half to build a 39-27 lead at the intermission.
Georgia State returns to the road to face James Madison on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN3 and on the radio on WRAS-FM 88.5.