Panthers Come Out Roaring, Put 90-52 Beatdown on Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana
Georgia State (11-6, 4-2 in Sun Belt) came storming out of the gates, jumping to a 24-point lead in the game’s first 14 minutes to dominate the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (7-10, 2-4 in Sun Belt) 90-52 in the Sports Arena Thursday night. After what he called “a humbling trip” – going 1-2 and losing two straight to Coastal Carolina and Arkansas State – coach Rob Lanier said of the win, “It’s one thing to win a game, it’s another to play well,” particularly praising the team’s 24 assists as a sign of selflessness and smart play when possessing a large lead. Corey Allen led the Panthers on an efficient shooting night, netting 24 points on 8-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from long-range. The Panthers rolled on offense all night, shooting over 50% overall and from three-point range, and held Louisiana to the lowest point total they had allowed since Brewton-Parker scored 35 in the season opener. For the Cajuns, Jalen Johnson had 12 points and 7 rebounds.
The Panthers were supremely on fire on both sides of the ball, forcing Louisiana to miss 17 of their first 18 shots and going 11-of-19 in the same stretch to jump out to a 29-5 lead – at one point going on a 20-0 run. Georgia State finished the first half shooting 60% from the floor, 57% from deep while the Cajuns shot a paltry 5-of-31 and 2-of-10 from 3 in the opening 20 minutes, turning it over 13 times in the opening interval. A Phillips three at the horn made it a 47-19 Panthers lead heading into the break. Georgia State didn’t let up after the break, scoring the first six points of the half and never looking back as they continued to hit shots from the perimeter and play stingy defense to put this one beyond doubt. The lead got as high as 45 at 86-41 with just over three minutes to play before the score settled on the final margin of 38.
No starter played more than 25 minutes for the Panthers, so the large lead late allowed the team to give some much-needed rest as the conference season rolls on for another two months. Coach Lanier pointed to the stretch of five games in 10 days that the team is in the middle of as a particular reason for the importance of that rest, but he was also happy to give the reserves real gametime, saying, “I wanted Chris [Clerkley] to play. I wanted Josh [Linder] to play. I wanted those guys to get out there and play some.” Clerkley made the most of the 16 minutes he played with a career-high 8 points and 5 rebounds.
The Panthers returns to action Saturday in the Sports Arena, playing host to the ULM Warhawks. Tipoff is at 2pm EST.