Tucker, the transfer from the College of Charleston, had 13 points and Johnson scored eight in the first half, which Georgia State led 38-25. Johnson had two 3-pointers in the first half and finished with four, which equaled the team’s total from Sunday’s loss to Belmont.
“I tried not to hold them back too much because I want them to play free and easy,” Hayes said. “Just instinctual basketball.”
Georgia State’s leading scorer was Jamaine Mann, who had 19 points – 15 in the second half -- and 10 rebounds. Danny Stubbs scored 10 and Ja’Heim Hudson added nine points and 13 rebounds for the Panthers (5-3).
“Just playing through the system, the coaches designing plays for me,” Mann said. “I’m getting good results playing within the system. I’m playing with confidence. That’s what it is.”
Stubbs said, “It’s just constant growth. We’re slowly coming together. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Middle Georgia (6-4) was led by Druid Hills High graduate Maliek Sadler with 12 points and D.J. Hutchins with 10 points.
Once the Panthers established the 20-plus point lead and had control of the game, Hayes was able to get more minutes for others. Dwon Odom, for example, was only asked to play 19 minutes and Hudson only played 18.
“I’m just looking for maturity,” Hayes said. “That was a moment we can grow in. So you don’t want to mix and match, not this group just yet. That’s takes a different level of maturity, a different level of attention to detail, a different level of still playing the right way.”
Georgia State plays its first road game of the season on Sunday against Northeastern in Boston.