Corey Allen’s 3-point barrage leads Georgia State past Toccoa Falls

Georgia State's Corey Allen. AP file photo

Credit: AP

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Georgia State's Corey Allen. AP file photo

Credit: AP

Georgia State’s Corey Allen was dialed in with this 3-pointers Saturday, and that made things very uncomfortable for visiting Toccoa Falls.

Allen was 6-for-6 on 3-pointers to start the game, had 18 points at the half and finished with 23 points to help the Panthers cruise to an easy 92-44 win over the Screaming Eagles at the GSU Sports Arena.

“We moved in the right direction tonight,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said. “We made some shots, we were more locked in on defense ... we’ve still got to get better ... and that’s where the magic is going to be for us. We’ve got to get better defensively.”

Georgia State made 16 3-pointers for the game – including 10-for-17 in the first half. That was a complete turnaround from Tuesday’s disappointing road loss to Mississippi State, where the Panthers were a miserable 6-for-28 from distance.

Lanier was also pleased to see 23 assists on the 33 made baskets, a sign of improved ball movement.

“The assist numbers really have a lot to do with why we made so many shots, because there was so many great shot-creation plays that led to good shooters taking good shots,” Lanier said.

Allen, a preseason first-team Sun Belt Conference selection, scored in double figures for the sixth time in seven games. The seven 3-pointers were a season-high for Allen, but fell just short of the season-best 25 points he scorer earlier this season against Northeastern.

“Corey is growing as a leader and I think he has great recognition right now of what our team needs and how he can serve us in that way,” Lanier said. “I thought tonight he was making a conscious effort and the ball was going in. He’s one guy that when he let’s them go, guys expect it to go in and they support that. When he shares it like that, it does create some energy inside our team that becomes contagious.”

Georgia State (6-4) also got 20 points – including four 3s -- from Nelson Phillips, who started for the second consecutive game and matched his career high in points. Jalen Thomas added 11 points and 12 rebounds – seven of them offensive -- for his first double-double of the season.

Toccoa Falls (9-9) was led by Lance Smith with 15 points and four assists, but he committed eight turnovers.

Allen opened the game with back-to-back 3s and connected four times to spark Georgia State to a 16-2 run at the 16:36 mark. He had two more treys during a 13-0 run that pushed the lead to 44-16 with 2:30 left in the half, which Georgia State led 41-27. The game was similar to last season’s meeting, which Georgia State won 105-60.

The Georgia State defense did not allow Toccoa Falls to score back-to-back baskets all game. The Panthers had 12 steals, eight blocks and limited the Eagles to 29.4% shooting from the field. Toccoa Falls did not score in the final 4:49.

“I thought tonight was a step in the right direction,” Lanier said. “Sometimes these games can be hard to play, but if you play it the right way and play it with discipline, you can get a lot out of it. I thought tonight was a night where we got someting out of it that we can use going forward.”

Georgia State plays again Tuesday at Georgia Tech. The Panthers beat the Yellow Jackets 123-120 in four overtimes last season.

“We’ve got two days to prepare for another tough game where a team is in need of a win,” Lanier said. “But they’re in no more need of it than we are, so we’re going to continue to get better. I do know our best basketball is ahead of us.”