PENSACOLA, Fla. — Georgia State ended Louisiana’s magical run at the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Tournament on Monday night. Led by making 10 three-pointers, the No. 3 seed Panthers defeated the No. 8 Ragin’ Cajuns 80-71 in the championship game held inside the Pensacola Bay Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Louisiana got on the board first as Jordan Brown made a baseline move and laid it up for two points. Georgia State answered with a jumper by Jalen Thomas and a layup by Corey Allen.
A free throw and then a layup by Brown would give the Ragin’ Cajuns back the lead. The Panthers needed only five seconds to answer with Allen draining a three-pointer.
Ga. State may have had the lead but the Panthers were unable to pull away until with a little more than 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
After Jalen Dalcourt made a layup to make it a two-point game, Georgia State went on a 11-3 run to push its lead to 10 points.
Dalcourt gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a spark with a corner three-pointer and then hit another. The Panthers answered each one of those three-pointers with a three of their own.
Louisiana did cut it down to six points with five minutes left before the break but Georgia State made two quick buckets to push the lead back to 10.
At the break, the Panthers led 42-33 and shot 50 percent from the field and 55 percent from three-point range.
Georgia State pushed its lead to 10 three times in the first five-and-half minutes of the second half. Louisiana kept fighting back and made it a five-point twice and with 7:28 remaining, the Ragin’ Cajuns trailed 55-50.
After Brown hit a pair of free throws, the Panthers’ lead was down to a mere three points. Louisiana had a chance to tie the game but Michael Thomas missed a clean look at the three-pointer.
Georgia State would answer by scoring five straight points but Louisiana responded with a three by Greg Williams Jr. The Panthers came right down the court and Allen hit a contested three-pointer.
Even though Louisiana cut it down to single digits in the final few minutes, it wasn’t enough to rally for the victory.
BIG NUMBER: 67
Georgia State was hot from beyond the arc in Monday night’s championship game as the Panthers shot 67 percent (10-of-15) from three-point range, including having Corey Allen shoot 5-of-6 from three.
BIG NUMBER II: 92
Louisiana struggled at the free throw line shooting 61 percent as the Ragin’ Cajuns made 15-of-22 shots from the charity stripe. Georgia State meanwhile went 22-of-24 from the free throw line.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: JORDAN BROWN
The Louisiana star forward led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in the losing effort.
UP NEXT: Louisiana ends the season 16-15 overall and 9-10 in SBC play. Georgia State improves to 18-10 overall and 10-5 in SBC play and prepares for the NCAA Men’s Tournament.