Continuing the six-part series (I’m giving you a bonus portion) on what went wrong for Georgia State’s basketball season, which ended with a 63-61 loss to Texas State in the first round of the Sun Belt basketball tournament last week in New Orleans.
Georgia State was trying to make it back to the NCAA tournament without R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow.
Now, part V: Not enough shots.
So what happens when a team can’t find a point guard, has no fast-break game and no post presence? It’s forced to put up jumpers and other lower-percentage shots, when it shoots at all.
Though Kevin Ware (35.5 percent 3-point shooter) and Jeremy Hollowell (33.3 percent 3-point shooter) worked very hard on their outside shooting during the summer, neither made anyone forget about Hunter or Harrow’s ability to hit 3-pointers. Hollowell and Ware found other ways to score, combining to average 26.4 points per game.
But the help in the form of a third scorer or outside shooter was inconsistent.
Freshman Jeff Thomas, whom Hunter said was going to challenge for a starting job last year before the NCAA ruled that he must sit out because of an issue with his high school transcript, might be the team’s best outside shooter. But he looked a half-step slow most of the season and as a result had a difficult time creating space to shoot. He had a few really good games, but a few in which he made no impact. He wasn’t allowed to work out with the team in 2014-15, so it will take a while to get into a groove.
Isaiah Williams came alive in the last few games when he was moved to off guard.
As a result, the Panthers shot 44.1 percent overall, 34.2 percent from 3-point range. Their percentages were actually top four in the conference.
The difference is volume.
The Panthers finished last in the conference in overall shots taken (705, 14 less than the next fewest) and 3-pointers taken (149, tied for last with Texas State and 31 shots behind the next fewest).