Panthers hand Pirates second straight loss

East Carolina dropped an 89-82 decision to Georgia State on Sunday. The Pirates have now lost two in a row for the first time since January.

On the back of Manny Atkins and his 27 points, Georgia State left Minges Coliseum Saturday afternoon with an 89-82 victory over East Carolina. With that, the Panthers have notched their fourth consecutive win.

Along with Atkins, Ryan Harrow and R.J. Hunter contributed over 20 points each. The trio combined for 73 of Georgia State's 89 points. ECU was simply unable to keep up throughout most of the game.

The Pirates were forced on their heels early on when the Panthers took a 10-3 lead less than five minutes into the contest. Georgia State made six of its first 10 shots while ECU was only able to put away two of its first 10.

ECU only made nine of its 26 shots in the first half, which prevented the Pirates from keeping up with Georgia State's pace. Akeem Richmond made only a single three in the first half. Those three points were all he had to contribute in the first 20 minutes.

Georgia State didn't quite run away with the game, though. In the first 2:15 of the second half, ECU went on a 13-5 run to tie the game. Richmond made his first pair of threes in the game and Zangari pitched in another seven points. The Pirates would tie the game twice more in the first six minutes of the second half.

After starting the second half down 35-27, the Pirates mounted a comeback and claimed their first—and only—lead of the day about six minutes into the second half. Michael Zangari, who had 16 points in the game, led the effort.

Once ECU took the 48-47 lead on two Caleb White free throws, Georgia State responded quickly with an 8-0 run to claim a 56-48 lead. The Panthers would maintain at least a five-point lead for the remainder of the game.

Georgia State dominated ECU down low. The Pirates' defense allowed Georgia State to claim 52 points in the paint—20 more than ECU was able to score in the same area.

In the end, ECU's downfall was falling behind early and not converting on opportunities. Even though Georgia State seemed to dominate much of the first half, the Panthers were only scoring .972 points per possession and had a 16.7 turnover percentage.

The Pirates weren't able to do anything with those extra possessions, though. They averaged only .750 points per possession on their 36 first-half possessions and only scored four points on all of Georgia State's turnovers.

Once ECU finally started taking advantage of those opportunities in the second half, Georgia State locked it down and limited turnovers. The Panthers had 42 possessions in the second half and had a low 7.1 turnover percentage. Even so, ECU was able to score nine points off turnovers and averaged a total of 1.279 points per possession in the second half.

That might have been enough to mount a comeback had ECU not gift wrapped so many scoring opportunities in the form of turnovers. On 43 possessions in the second half, Georgia State forced 13 turnovers and notched nine points off turnovers.

In the end, ECU's second-half defensive effort wasn't able to match its offensive effort. The game slipped away and the Pirates have now dropped two consecutive games for the first time since January.

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