On Tuesday night Georgia State finally put together the complete game that Panther fans had been clamoring for all season. The Panthers came out on fire, shooting 62.5 percent from the floor in the first half, and building a 15 point lead with 11:44 to play in the first half. The Panthers held a 51-27 halftime lead and would eventually win 85-54. The 31 point victory was the largest margin of victory on the road in Georgia State’s history.
"Tonight was the first time this year that I felt as though we really played a well-rounded game," said Hunter after the game. "I thought we came out a little slow, but then our bench got things going. They played with energy and were able to give us some three-pointers, which were really important."
The team’s two best performers on the season have been Devonta White and Eric Buckner. That trend continued Tuesday night against the Bulldogs. Buckner was a force in the middle, scoring 21 points while blocking 2 shots and grabbing 8 rebounds.
"Eric is really starting to step-up his game," said Hunter of Buckner’s play. "If we can get that solid performance inside and start to hit some threes, we are going to become a hard basketball team to beat."
White had perhaps his best all-around performance of the year. The sophomore point guard scored 17 points on 6 of 9 from the field, including 4-5 from behind the arc. He also tied a season high with 6 assists and turned the ball over only once.
Rashaad Richardson and Jihad Ali led the bench effort for GSU on the night, scoring 12 and 10 points respectively.
Georgia State also continued to play great defense. During the four game win streak the Panthers have allowed an average of 50.3 points per game. They had held their previous three opponents to 50 points or less for the first time in school history.
"I was equally impressed with the way we played on defense tonight," commented Hunter. "We held them to 33 percent from the floor. They are a very athletic team. We were just able to play smart basketball tonight to get a great win."
South Carolina State was led by Brandon Riley who scored 22 points and 5 rebounds.
Georgia State will return home to face Florida International University on Thursday. FIU is coached by hall of famer Isaiah Thomas.