Corey Allen’s transformation shows in Georgia State win

Georgia State Panthers basketball clipboard.

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

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Georgia State Panthers basketball clipboard.

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

When Corey Allen decided to return for his “super senior” season, he worked extra hours to transform his body into one more capable of performing at the highest level. The results were evident Friday afternoon when he led the Panthers to an 83-64 win over Northeastern.

Allen, an All-Sun Belt preseason first-team selection, scored a season-high 25 points, making 10 of 19 from the floor, including 5 of 8 3-point shots, and he had six assists and three rebounds to help Georgia State in its first legitimate test of the season.

“Corey has always been good, and he’s always been productive, but being in better shape and experiencing winning the last two years now, he’s in a different mind space,” Georgia State coach Rob Lanier said.

“He wants to lead. In the past he just wanted to hoop … and he was pretty good at hooping. It’s amazing how when you think about other guys you can be more productive yourself. It’s a great lesson for younger guys.”

Justin Roberts, another senior, scored 13 of his 22 points in the second half. Roberts was 9-for-14 from the field, had four 3-pointers and two steals.

Nelson Phillips added 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and Jalen Thomas had a team-high seven rebounds. The Panthers also got 16 minutes off the bench from sophomore Jordan Rawls, who scored seven and did a nice job at point guard.

“Jordan was terrific,” Lanier said. “He has a steadying effect on our team. He’s got a good basketball IQ, and he’s a point guard. He plays the game like a point guard. He thinks like a floor general out there.”

Kane Williams scored six points and moved into ninth place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,242 points, 10 behind No. 8 Phillip Luckydo.

“We say all the time that each team has a one-year life span,” Lanier said. “This feels like this team’s first win together, where we played a team that is really good with a good coach that has a winning tradition.”

The win was an important one for Georgia State (2-0), which is facing a stretch of three consecutive road games that begins at Rhode Island on Tuesday. Northeastern won the Colonial Athletic Association’s regular-season title last season and were picked to finish second in their league this year.

“Winning is always good and beating a good team makes it better,” Lanier said. “We’ve got a formidable opponent on Tuesday, and we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll be up to the fight.”

Northeastern (0-2) was led by Nikola Djogo, a graduate transfer who played four seasons at Notre Dame, and Chris Doherty with 14 points apiece. Jahmyl Telfort scored 11 points.

Georgia State had a 9-0 run in the first half and led by as many as 11 when Phillips connected on a 3-point basket with 8:44 left to make the score 33-22. But Northeastern stayed in the game by shooting 56 percent from the floor – 59 percent on 10 3 pointers -- and tied the score 42-42 on Shaquille Walker’s long-range 3-pointer at the buzzer. Allen had 11 points at the half.

“We didn’t anticipate they’d make 10 of them in the first half, but we felt like the pace of the game, even though it was tied, was more to our liking,” Lanier said. “We felt like if we continued to keep pressure on them, that would change, and it did. And we made our share of 3′s.”

The Panthers used a 15-2 run and opened a 62-50 lead on Allen’s 3-pointer. GSU stretched the lead to 19 points when another Allen 3-pointer upped the lead to 71-52 with 9:13 left. Northeastern never got closer than 12 points.

It was the first meeting between the former Colonial Athletic Association members since Georgia State left the league in 2013. Northeastern leads the all-time series 10-7, but Georgia State has won four of the past six meetings.

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