Joe Jones’ double-double paces Georgia State to easy win

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

For the past two seasons, Joe Jones has waited to get healthy enough to contribute to the Georgia State basketball team. On Wednesday, he came up with his best game of the season, producing his first career double-double, in helping the Panthers wrap up the non-conference portion of their season.

Jones had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Georgia State easily outplayed Division II Toccoa Falls 91-52 on Wednesday at the GSU Convocation Center.

Jones is a 6-foot-8 sophomore who has missed the past two seasons with a foot injury. He played 21 minutes Wednesday and made 8 of 11 field-goal attempts. His previous scoring high was 11 against Appalachian State in 2020. He fell one short of matching his career rebounding mark.

“I want to thank my teammates for trusting me with the ball and my coaches for putting me out there,” Jones said. “Feels good, just doing what the team needed me to do. Gonna get better. Like Coach says, every day, just keep building.”

Jones said it wasn’t easy to be patient while waiting for his body to heal. He suffered a Lisfranc injury, a rare injury where the bones in his foot shifted and broke.

“I’m a big person to know proper preparation prevents poor performance,” Jones said. “So even when I was in my cast, I was still shooting a little bit, stationary shots.”

Jamall Clyce, a 6-6 sophomore from Pebblebrook High School, scored a career-high 13 points. His previous best was six points against Mississippi State last season.

Georgia State (7-5) also got 13 points from Evan Johnson, who had three 3-pointers, and 12 points from Dwon Odom. Kaleb Scott added 10 points and nine rebounds, and his bid for a double-double came up short when a teammate grabbed the final uncontested shot of the game.

“For us, it’s been a lot of growth,” Scott said. “From the beginning of the season, we were just trying to let each other play, and it seemed like we were a bunch of individuals out there, which makes perfect sense because it’s an entirely different team, and lot of guys are transferring in from other schools. As time goes on we’re starting to mesh and gel, and I feel like we’re definitely starting to play well together.”

Toccoa Falls (4-5) was led by Josh Parker with 19 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Panthers took control early and scored the first 15 points of the game before the Screaming Eagles were able to scratch. Georgia State shot 52.6% in the first half and led 48-18 at halftime.

“I’m proud to see tangible evidence of progress from Game 1 to Game 12,” GSU coach Jonas Hayes said. “I hold those guys to a standard of progress.”

Everyone played at least 10 minutes and no one played more than 22. Ten of the 11 players scored, and everyone got a rebound.

“Every single game we play brings a large amount of importance,” Hayes said. “What we emphasize from game to game may change, but the importance placed on these games doesn’t diminish because you only get a small number of games in comparison to practices. And all these games are precious.”

It was the final non-conference game of the season for the Panthers, who open Sun Belt Conference competition at home Dec. 29 against James Madison.