­Provo, Utah-BYU opened Tuesday night’s  game with a 31-2 run and Georgia State was never able to fully recover, falling to the Cougars, 80-62, at the Marriott Center in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting, pulling down a career-high eight rebounds in the loss.

BYU (2-0) held Georgia State (0-2) to just 35.4 percent shooting and 13.6 percent from three-point range.

Despite trailing by as many as 29 with 10:31 to play in the first half, the Panthers cut the Cougars lead to just 11 points, 56-43, with 9:25 to play, but that is as close as GSU would get.

BYU center Brandon Davies finished with 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting, making 8-of-10 from the free throw line and grabbing nine rebounds. Tyler Haws added 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Cougars who finished the game shooting 51.7 percent from the floor.

“I thought our guys played hard until the end,” commented head coach Ron Hunter after the game. “I have to give credit to BYU, they came out red-hot and pressured us on defense. Those two things took us out of our game and we were not able to fully recover.

“I am proud of our guys for never giving up and fighting all the way until the end. If we could have had a couple of shots fall early and then made some shots under the basket late, who knows what could have happened.

After opening the season before a sell-out crowd at No. 8 Duke, Georgia State played in front of a hostile 13,181 tonight.

“Regardless of the outcomes of our first two games, I know we have a very special team. We have gone up against two of the best big men in the country and played in two of the most hostile environments in college basketball. I knew it would take some time for our newcomers to come together but now we get to go home for seven of our next nine and I know we will have a great home crowd to cheer us on.”

Atkins, the redshirt-junior transfer from Virginia Tech, finished with career-highs in nearly every category and sparked the Panthers second half run. He was 3-of-6 from three-point range and swiped three steals in 36 minutes of action.

Junior Devonta White added 14 points and five rebounds for GSU, while freshman R.J. Hunter scored 12 points, going 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Junior Denny Burguillos added nine points and six rebounds, going 4-of-6 from the floor.

BYU opened the game red-hot, taking a 15-0 lead and expanding it to 25-2 with 12:41 to play before the first media time-out. The Cougars hit 12 of their first 16 shots, including 5-of-5 from three-point range, forcing Hunter to use two timeouts before the first media.

Trailing by 27, 40-13, GSU used a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 40-22 with 1:27 to play in the first half. Georgia State trailed 44-26 at halftime.

After shooting over 70 percent for most of the first half, BYU finished the first half shooting 58.1 percent, including 6-of-12 from three-point range. BYU held Georgia State to just 26.5 percent shooting and 2-of-12 from three-point range during the first 20 minutes.

Matt Carlino added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, dishing out seven assists and swiping four steals for BYU.

Georgia State will return home for seven of its next nine games, including the next five beginning next Monday. The Panthers will host a regional of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, Nov. 19-21, with Monmouth, South Alabama and Tennessee State coming to the Sports Arena, Nov. 19-21. The four squads will play six games over three days. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please visit GeorgiaStateSports.com or call 1-866-GA-STATE.

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