JONESBORO, Ark. (2/28/19) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team came up just short in a wild finish to its Sun Belt Conference game against Georgia State, dropping a narrows 64-62 decision that came down to the last second Thursday night at First National Bank Arena.
A-State, which got a career-high 20 points from junior guard Payton Tennison, saw its overall record move to 10-16 and now stands 5-10 in league play. Georgia State improved to 16-11 overall and 10-6 against Sun Belt opponents.
Tennison was joined in double figures by Peyton Martin and Morgan Wallace with 17 and 12 points, respectively. Martin narrowly missed a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds on a night that saw the Panthers hold a 39-29 advantage on the boards.
The Red Wolves led almost the entire contest and held a nine-point advantage midway through the fourth period. However, the Panthers went on an 11-1 run at that point to take a 62-61 lead with 50 seconds remaining.
Martin was able to tie the game 62-62 at the charity stripe as the clocked reached 29 seconds. With just six seconds remaining, freshman guard Jireh Washington came up with a steal near the free throw line on Georgia State’s end of the court, but almost immediately lost possession of the ball and the Panthers’ Jada Lewis connected on a layup to set the final score at 64-62.
Following an A-State timeout, Akasha Westbrook got off a final jump shot that was off the mark as time expired and the Panthers escaped with the two-point victory.
“This was a hard way for a game to end and as I told the team in the locker room that sometimes when things aren’t going your way they just don’t go your way,” A-State coach Brian Boyer said. “When things are going good for you the ball tends to bounce your way and when things aren’t it tends to bounce the other way.”
Arkansas State finished with a 39.6 shooting percentage in comparison to Georgia State’s .419 mark. The Red Wolves were able to connect on two more three-pointers (8-6) and make six more free throws than the Panthers but were outscored 32-20 in the paint.
A-State took an 18-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter but led just 30-28 at the break after it was outscored 18-12 in the second period. The Red Wolves tacked on three more points to its lead in the third.
“We did a really good job defensively in the first half but we knew they were a better shooting team than 1-of-12 and they came out and hit five 3-pointers in the second half,” Boyer said. “Probably the biggest thing was the offensive rebounding and we just gave them too many second chances, especially late when we knew we had to get stops to protect the lead.”
Georgia State was led by three players scoring in double figures as well, including Janessa Murphy with a team-high 17 points off the bench.
A-State returns to action Saturday, March 2, with a 4:00 p.m. game against Georgia Southern at First National Bank Arena.