ATLANTA-Georgia State rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final two minutes, but Devon Saddler’s three-pointer with less than a second remaining lifted Delaware to an 86-83 victory in Colonial Athletic Association play Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena.
Delaware won its fifth straight game to move to 8-8 overall and 3-0 in the CAA, while Georgia State fell to 6-11, 1-3 CAA.
The Panthers trailed 81-70 with 1:41 left before Ryann Green capped the comeback with a pair of free throws with six seconds left to tie the score at 83-all. But Saddler, the CAA’s leading scorer who finished with 29 points on the day, brought the ball across half court and nailed the trey from the right elbow.
Manny Atkins led Georgia State with 20 points, and Devonta White score 18 points, including six in the last 80 seconds to fuel the Panthers’ comeback. White also contributed six assists and five rebounds.
R.J. Hunter had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers, but the freshman sat out the final four minutes with a foot injury. Rashaad Richardson was the fourth Panther in double figures with 13 points.
“I am really proud of how our team fought back today,” commented head coach Ron Hunter. “In my opinion, we played the best team in league today. That is arguably the best guard combo I have seen in a long time.
“When R.J. went down, I thought it took some energy out of us, but guys like Ryann Green and Kevin Shaw stepped up for us and gave us a chance. Today was a microcosm of our season. Get down, get up, continue to fight and then a guy hits a shot that you can’t defend. We played hard and that is all I can ask.”
Georgia State fell behind 81-70 after a pair of free throws by Jarvis Threatt with 1:41 left. Cameron Solomon made two free throws for GSU, and then after an offensive foul by Delaware, White’s layup pulled the Panthers within 81-74 with 1:20 still to play.
After Saddler made one of two free throws, White was fouled and made both to cut the deficit to 82-76 at the 1:07 mark. Saddler again made one of two from the line, and sophomore Kevin Shaw came off the bench to nail a three-pointer for his first points of the season. That made the score 83-79 with 54 seconds on the clock.
The Panthers quickly fouled Kyle Anderson in the backcourt, and he missed both free throws. White drew another foul, and his foul shots brought the Panthers within two at 83-81 with 41 seconds left.
Delaware ran down the shot clock before Threatt missed a jumper with nine seconds left. Green grabbed the rebound and was fouled with six seconds left. Even though he had been to the line just twice in his career, he calmly sank both free throws to knot the score at 83-all.
Delaware hit 52 percent from the field, and the top free throw shooting team in the conference was able to cash in today, going to the line 37 times and making 26. Threatt was 10-for-12 at the charity stripe to score 18 points. Jamelle Hagins added 11 points, and the nation’s second-leading rebounder grabbed seven today to tie the Delaware career record of 916.
Georgia State got off to a hot start, shooting 53 percent from the field and hitting six treys in the first half to take a 42-37 lead at the intermission. The Panthers cooled off in the second half to finish the game at 46 percent from the field. GSU hit 20 of 23 from the free throw line and committed just seven turnovers on the day.
Georgia State will remain at home to host the annual ‘Barefoot for Bare Feet’ game benefiting Samaritan’s Feet on Wednesday. The Panthers will face William & Mary with tip-off set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 1-866-GA-STATE or visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com.