Georgia State, the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt, was beaten by Appalachian State, in last place in the conference, 74-69 on Saturday in Boone.
The Panthers are now 11-7, 4-3 in the Sun Belt with a trip to Arkansas State on Monday.
Here’s why Georgia State was beaten, not that any of these reasons will be a surprise:
3-point shooting: Appalachian hit 12 of 29 3-pointers against Georgia State’s zone defenses. Eight of those were hit by one player. The Panthers are 21-8 under coach Ron Hunter when teams shoot at least 25 3-pointers. Three of those losses have now come this year.
Hunter and Harrow disappear: It’s not fair to say they disappeared. It’s more accurate to say they were taken out of the game. R.J. Hunter had 12 points in the first half. Harrow had 15. Hunter finished with 16 and Harrow 21 as the Mountaineers’ man-to-man defense and physical play seemed to affect them.
Rebounding: T.J. Shipes wasn’t able to play because of an ankle injury. Curtis Washington, a 6-foot-10 center, started. The Mountaineers had a whopping 17 offensive rebounds that they turned into 15 second-chance points. Washington’s box score was mostly empty: two points, three rebounds, four fouls, no blocks. Washington lost his starting job because of problems with rebounding.
Free throws and turnovers: Georgia State missed nine of its 23 free throws.The Panthers have a particular formula for winning: create turnovers (App had just six) and hit free throws. When one of those fails, results can be hard to come by. When both fail, it can really become difficult.