After watching a lead evaporate into a loss in the final two minutes of its last game, there was no chance Georgia State was going to take its foot off the gas pedal on Thursday night.
Not when the lead reached 10 points. Not when the lead reached 20 points. Not even when the lead reached 32 points shortly before halftime.
The result was a resounding 90-52 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, which ended Georgia State’s two-game losing streak and extended its winning streak at the GSU Sports Arena to 13 games.
“It’s one thing to win a game and it’s another thing to play well,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “And we played well.”
Georgia State (11-6, 4-2 Sun Belt) got 24 points from Corey Allen, who bounced back from a four-point performance against Arkansas State to go 8-for-11 from the field, including four 3-pointers. It was the 15th double-figure game for the junior and most points since his season-high 28 against Dartmouth on Dec. 3.
Georgia State also got 17 points from Nelson Phillips, whose alley-oop dunk after receiving a pass from Damon Wilson was highlight-reel material. Kane Williams added 13 points and eight assists.
The Panthers did little wrong. They shot 54.2 percent, made 11 of 21 3-pointers, and came away with 15 steals. Lanier was especially pleased with the 24 assists his team produced on 32 made field goals.
“In a game like this when you’re playing with a big margin, oftentimes kids look to score for themselves in those situations,” Lanier said. “We’re looking for one another and sharing the basketball.”
Louisiana-Lafayette (7-10, 2-4 Sun Belt) got 12 points and seven rebounds from Jalen Johnson.
Georgia State’s success was based around its aggressive man-to-man defense, which allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns few good shots and typically limited them to one attempt. Louisiana-Lafayette made only 1 of 15 from the field to start the game and finished the first half 5-for-31, a frigid 16.1 percent. The Cajuns had 22 turnovers, which led to 28 Georgia State points.
Meanwhile the Panthers couldn’t miss. A 10-0 run gave Georgia State a 15-2 lead. The Panthers kept tacking on and when Allen buried a 3 with 9:54 left, the Panthers had put 20 unanswered points on the board and taken a 25-2 lead. Georgia State went on to lead 47-19 at halftime.
Louisiana-Lafayette has won four games this season after trailing by double digits, but Georgia State was not in a giving mood. The Panthers – after getting chewed on by Lanier at halftime – came out with the same full-court effort in the second half and pressed the lead to 41 points with 10:27 left.
“We’re trying to grow and mature and develop a particular mindset that is about us,” Lanier said. “It always starts and ends with the focus that we put on ourselves. So in a game like that, can we stay locked in and do the little things that matter so that we can improve?”
When all the shots had finished clanking off the rim, the Ragin’ Cajuns had been limited to 27 percent from the field, making just 17 of 59.
Georgia State plays again on Saturday at home against Louisiana-Monroe before going on another three-game road trip that will take the Panthers to South Alabama, Troy and Georgia Southern.
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