Georgia State defeats Louisiana for Sun Belt’s automatic bid
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Corey Allen scored 29 points and third-seeded Georgia State won the Sun Belt Conference tournament for the fourth time in eight years, defeating Louisiana 80-71 on Monday night.
Eliel Nsoseme had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Georgia State. Jalen Thomas scored 12 points and Kane Williams added 10. The third-seeded Panthers have won 10 straight games and 12 of their last 13.
After Georgia State saw a comfortable lead cut to three at 55-52 with 7:28 remaining, Nsoseme converted a three-point play, Allen made two free throws followed by a 3-pointer and the Panthers were well on their way to an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Louisiana sent Georgia State to the free-throw line on seven consecutive possessions beginning at the 2:15 mark and the Panthers made the last 12 of 13 attempts in that stretch. The Panthers made 22 of 24 free throws for the game.
Jordan Brown had 24 points and eight rebounds for eighth-seeded Louisiana. Greg Williams Jr. scored 15 points and Jalen Dalcourt 10. The Ragin’ Cajuns defeated No. 9 UT Arlington, No. 1 Texas State and No. 4 Troy to reach the championship game. Louisiana is the first team seeded eighth or worse to reach the Sun Belt tournament championship game.
Georgia State built a 21-12 lead with 11:48 remaining in the first half and led by 7-11 points for nearly all of the next 22 minutes of play. Georgia State led 42-33 at halftime and while neither team managed to shoot as much as 35% in the first 12 minutes of the second half, Louisiana went on a 6-0 run to draw within three before Georgia State pulled away.
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