In a game that Coach Hunter said would "tell us a lot about our team", Georgia State finally got the offensive explosion they had been searching for all season, putting up 96 points and scoring their highest total in 6 seasons. GSU shot a season best 40 percent from behind the arc and 54.8 percent from the field. Four Panthers scored more than 15 points with Devonta White leading all scorers with 20 points. He also had 5 assists for the game.
"Defense has really been our staple this year, but today was the first time that offensively we played the way I want us to," said Hunter. "Our team is building a lot of confidence right now and as things continue to come together, I think we can be a very good team."
Hunter’s fast paced, high scoring offense hadn’t been on display so well all season. In the first half alone the Panthers had 20 fast-break points, forced 8 turnovers, and had 11 assists. They also only turned the ball over one time.
"Our defense creates our offense and when teams take three's against us, we are going to get out and run," commented Hunter. "Today we were able to take advantage of some fast break baskets and our team fed off that.”
Georgia State finished with 11 steals and forced 16 turnovers. They turned the ball over only 9 times, including a sloppy run in the second half that caused Hunter to put his starters back in the game briefly.
In addition to White, the Panthers featured good scoring outings from Eric Buckner and James Fields, who finished with 15 points each. Buckner brought the Sports Arena crowd to their feet a number of times with powerful dunks. Georgia State also finally received a great showing from forward Brandon McGee. The senior finished with a season high 18 points on 6 of 7 shooting including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. McGee had found himself out of the rotation, playing less than 10 minutes in each of the last 3 games.
If Georgia State can continue to shoot as well as they did on Saturday, then they will have a very special season indeed. The consistent play from Tony Kimbro and Brandon McGee off the bench is a key factor for this team. If they get a big game from either of those players then they will be tough to beat. One of the most consistent performers on the season has been James Fields. The senior guard was injured for a few games at the beginning of the season, and his return has brought great stability to the backcourt. Overall this Panther team has a number of players that can step up and have a big game at any time.
The Panthers next game will come on the road next Saturday as they travel to Utah to face Utah Valley. Their next home game will be against in state rival Georgia Southern on Dec 22nd.