After a tough road loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday night, Georgia State got back on track and closed out their home non-conference slate with a comfortable 92-44 win over Toccoa Falls. A scorching 62% shooting performance in the first half led the Panthers to a 26-point lead at halftime, and the story remained the same in the second half. Georgia State kept building on to their lead over the Screamin’ Eagles and a Collin Moore three-pointer with 1:54 to go in the game rounded out the scoring and gave the Panthers their largest lead of the game.
This win marks the last time the Panthers will host an out-of-conference game in the Georgia State Sports Arena, as the team will move to the new Convocation Center from next season and beyond. The game was a rematch between the teams after they played last season, with the Panthers also winning that one by a score of 105-60.
Corey Allen led all scorers with 23 points on an extra-efficient 8 of 9 from the floor, including 7 of 8 from downtown. Nelson Phillips added 20, with 4 made three-pointers of his own. Jalen Thomas got a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Justin Roberts scored 10 off the bench. Georgia State held a size mismatch and took advantage with a lopsided 46-22 rebounding margin. After getting just 9 assists in their loss to Mississippi State, sharing the ball was very much in the plans tonight as the Panthers assisted on 23 of their 33 made field goals, led by Kane Williams’ 8.
Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier, was happy with the team’s approach after their loss on Tuesday night, saying, “I felt like we had a couple of good days the last couple of days and some great communication as a staff with our team about where we are, where we want to be and how we’re going to get there,” and he called this win “a good step in the right direction.”
Coach Lanier referenced that being ready to compete for 40 minutes with a team at the level of Toccoa Falls can be a possible roadblock, saying, “Sometimes, these games can be hard to play.” But, he went on, “if you play it the right way and play it with discipline, you can get a lot out of it – and I thought tonight was a night where we got something out of this game that we can use going forward.”
The news came before tipoff, first reported by VerbalCommits.com, that Georgia State guard Jordan Rawls had left the program and entered the transfer portal. Rawls, a junior from Chattanooga, TN who had transferred into the program in the spring, averaged 5.2 points per game in his nine games as a Panther. Georgia State were also without freshman forward Jamall Clyce, who was held out with a minor injury.
The Panthers showed the talent advantage they held over their non-Division I opponent from the opening tip, scoring the first 11 points of the game and eventually jumping out to a 16-2 lead just under three minutes in. Toccoa Falls shot just 8-25 (32%) in the first half while Georgia State made 10 shots from beyond the three-point line in the half alone. The Panthers made 18 of their 29 first half shots and led by as much as 28 before ultimately taking a 47-21 lead into the locker room.
Coach Lanier made reference to the Panthers’ next opponent after the game, a Georgia Tech team who dropped their fourth straight contest tonight to fall to 5-5 on the season, saying, “Now we’ve got two days to prepare for another tough team who’s in need of a win.” But, he added, “They’re in no more need of it than we are.”
Georgia State finishes a perfect 4-0 at home in non-conference play. They’ll play their final game before Sun Belt play when they head across town for that game with the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday night. Tipoff at McCamish Pavilion will be at 9pm Eastern and the game will be televised on Bally Sports South.
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