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Four observations about Georgia State’s loss to ULM

Georgia State head basketball coach Ron Huner. (Doug Roberson / AJC)

Georgia State head basketball coach Ron Huner. (Doug Roberson / AJC)

Instead of closing the regular season with a bang, Georgia State was dumped by Louisiana-Monroe 91-78 on Saturday.

The Panthers (16-13, 9-11) gave up a season-high in points on defense, saw a return of the long, scoreless stretches that plagued the offense during its mid-season losing streak, and generally didn’t look like a team motivated for an upcoming conference tournament.

Here are three observations about the game.

The sixth seed. With a win, the Panthers had a chance to secure the fifth seed in New Orleans. Instead, the Panthers will go in as the sixth seed. Either way, they will have to win four games in four days to make it back to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.

There is precedence for making it that far.

Six teams seeded sixth or lower have made it to the championship game. Western Kentucky won it as the seventh seed in 2012 and the sixth seed in 2013. South Alabama lost in the title game in 2009.

Who will Georgia State play. The Panthers will play Texas State at 8:15 p.m. Thursday. The Panthers swept the Bobcats.

The offense. Georgia State’s offense seemed much improved in winning three of its previous four games. It reverted to its troubling midseason form on Saturday. The Panthers built a 10-point lead midway through the first half and then scored just seven points in the next nine minutes, 51 seconds to fall behind by nine. That included a stretch of more than five minutes without a point.

The odd thing is the team shot 47.5 percent, close to its marks in its previous two wins, had 19 assists on 28 field goals, 34 points in the paint and 20 points off turnovers. Those are good things.

The issue, as it has been in most games, is the team scored just two fast-break points. The points that it did score it had to really, really work for. It’s actually quite impressive that the team scored 61 points in half-court sets (15 came from free throws).

The defense. All season, coach Ron Hunter has praised his defense. While I haven’t been as convinced it deserves the volume, the statistics show why Hunter is proud. The results weren’t there on Saturday.

The Warhawks shot 59.6 percent and, frankly, it seemed much higher watching it on ESPN3. They scored 40 points in the paint, had 10 second-chance points and hit 21 of 25 free throws.

If the Panthers are going to win the Sun Belt, it will be defense that makes it happen. It can’t afford another performance like Saturday’s. The Warhawks consistently broke the Panthers’ press and had no problems getting the ball into the post.

Here are more posts:

Georgia State football

Sun Belt schedule superlatives

2016 Georgia State Sun Belt football schedule

Podcast: The Sun Belt retraction excitation

Sun Belt football will condense to 10 teams

10 questions with Georgia State QB Conner Manning

10 questions with Georgia State QB Aaron Winchester

Georgia State and North Carolina schedule home-and-home football series;

Georgia State loses an assistant football coach;

Georgia State schedules home-and-home series with Vanderbilt;

How did Georgia State do on ESPN channels;

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s special teams and recruiting

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s offense

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s defense

Georgia State finds out its Sun Belt opponents for 2016

Georgia State welcomes six early enrollees

Georgia State adds Tennessee State to football schedule

Georgia State’s Hart named All-American

Georgia State basketball

Georgia State’s Bruise Brothers get last home game

An update on Georgia State’s practice facility;

Georgia State/Atlanta bid to host the Sun Belt basketball tournament;

Video: Ron Hunter after the loss to UALR

Ongoing football review/preview series

Offensive line

Wide receivers

Running backs

Quarterbacks

Ongoing 2016 schedule previews

Wisconsin

Tennessee-Martin

Air Force

Ball State


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