Day: January 10, 2015

Hunter’s 37 Points Leads Georgia State to 77-72 Win Over Troy

Georgia State junior guard RJ HunterPhoto credit: Georgia State Athletics
Georgia State junior guard RJ Hunter
Photo credit: Georgia State Athletics

Release from Georgia State Athletics:

Junior R.J. Hunter scored a season-high 37 points, including 23 in the second half to lead Georgia State to a 77-72 win over Troy on Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena. Hunter made six free throws in the final 26 seconds to secure the victory.

The junior from Indianapolis finished the game 9-of-20 from the floor, including four 3-pointers and an impressive 15-of-17 from the free throw line, both career-highs, while dishing out five assists. He is now just one point shy of Terrence Brandon’s 1,479 points for second on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list.

Hunter was nearly matched by Troy’s Musa Abdul-Aleem who finished with 33 points and made seven of Troy’s 13 3-pointers. Abdul-Aleem finishing 9-of-16 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

Georgia State (10-6, 3-2 Sun Belt) won for the 19th time in his last 20 home games and played without the services of senior Ryan Harrow who was nursing a toe injury. It was the first game Harrow has missed in a Georgia State uniform. The Panthers are off to their third-best start in program history and have now won 32 of their last 41 games dating back to last season.

Troy (6-7, 1-3 Sun Belt) lost despite shooting 48.1 percent from 3-point range and missing just one of 14 free throw attempts.

Sophomore Isaiah Dennis stepped up in Harrow’s absence scoring a career-high nine points in 18 minutes. Entering play, Dennis has scored just 12 points in his career, including nine this season.

“That was a great gut check for our guys to step up and play,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I though Isaiah Dennis coming off the bench and giving us those minutes was huge. I knew we needed someone to make up the difference for Ryan (Harrow) and I didn’t know who it would be. Isaiah took the opportunity and did an incredible job for us today.”

Trailing 12-11 early in the game, junior Kevin Ware knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give the Panthers a 17-12 lead with 13:09 to play in the first half. After a Troy 3-pointer by Wesley Person, Hunter knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game to push the Panthers lead back to five.

Ware finished with 13 points and four assists for the Panthers.

Georgia State made eight-straight field goals and hit nine of its first 10 shots, finishing the first half shooting 60 percent from the floor and 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

Troy used a 9-0 run to take 24-22 with 6:29 to play in the first half, before Georgia State responded with a dunk by Curtis Washington and another 3-pointer by Hunter to retake the lead, 27-24.

The Trojans finished the half knocking down six 3-pointers to lead Georgia State 34-32 at the break.

Trailing 44-39 early in the second half, Hunter knocked down a jumper and subsequent free throw, followed by a 3-pointer from Jalen Brown to take a 45-44 lead with just over 12 minutes to play.

The two teams combined for 20 lead changes and 10 ties, with 13 of those lead changes coming in the season half.

A Dennis lay-up with 1:32 to play gave GSU a 71-68 lead, the Panthers biggest lead of the second half to that point and one the team would not relinquish.

After a missed 3-pointer by Hunter with 30 seconds to play, he got the rebound which sent him to the free throw line where he made both to give GSU a 73-68 lead with 26.1 seconds to play.

After an Abdul-Aleem put-back cut the deficit to three, Hunter went back to the free throw line and made both to give GSU a 75-70 lead with 13.3 seconds to play.

Kelton Ford responded with a fast break lay-up cut Georgia State’s lead to three points with 8.5 seconds to play before Hunter made another pair of free throws to secure the win.

Wesley Person added 17 points for Troy, while Ford came off the bench to score 10.

Georgia State finished the game shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from 3-point range, knocking down 22-of-26 from the free throw line.

Georgia State women’s basketball falls to Troy, 96-87

Georgia State guard Makeba PonderPhoto credit: Randy Wilson Photography
Georgia State guard Makeba Ponder
Photo credit: Randy Wilson Photography

Release from Georgia State Athletics:

In another shootout between the two teams that hold the Sun Belt women’s basketball record for most points in a game, Troy outlasted Georgia 96-87 Saturday in a high noon shootout in the GSU Sports Arena.

The see-saw game included 17 lead change and 10 ties before host Georgia State cooled off at the end and missed seven of its final eight shots after a tie at 83 with 4:37 to play.

GSU and Troy combined for a conference record 201 points in their last meeting in February, following a 162-point game last January. Today’s was 183 combined points.

Today, Troy made 11 of 23 3-pointers in the shootout as GSU was matching with 10 of 27, but misfired in six of its last seven 3-point attempts. The game included 161 field goal attempts, 31 free throws and 40 assists.

Host Georgia State shook up its line-up today, starting two freshmen and a sophomore, who all responded. Freshman Makeba Ponder tied her personal-best game with 22 points and six treys. Sophomore Ashanti Groover’s first start resulted in a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Kennesha Nichols added six points and five rebounds. Guard Ashley Watson added 14 points and four assists, while senior point guard Alisha Andrews made 10 assists to pass 500 career (508 now). Guard Ashlee Cole added 14 points and four treys off the bench.

Visiting Troy got a career-tying 27 points (9 of 14 field goals) from Kourtney Coleman, with 24 of those in the first half on 6 of 7 3-point baskets. Ronita Garrett added a double-double with 18 points (8 of 13) to go with 15 rebounds. Ashley Beverly-Kelley added 13 points and five assists.

Georgia State started hottest, leading the first seven minutes and up by five at 18-13 with seven of 10 field goals. Troy took its turn making 3-pointers and moved out 38-33 at 6:52. The teams had six ties in the first half before GSU made a free throw with 20.8 seconds to go up 51-50 at halftime.

Defense actually played a big role to start the second half as Troy forced six Georgia State turnovers in the first five minutes after GSU had just five turnovers the entire first half. Troy led 60-53 at 16:20 as a result.

Georgia State used a 7-0 run mid-second half to go back ahead 69-68 at 10:35 and the Panthers were ahead 75-72 with 8:03 to play. The shootout was in full force with ties at 80 and 82 and again at 83 with 4:37 left and it looked like a game that whoever has the ball last will win.

Rachel Reid hit a trey at 4:21 to put, but Ponder answered for GSU to close it to 88-87 at 3:20. Reid struck again from outside the arc at 3:05 and GSU went cold and could never close the gap. The final score was the largest lead of the game.

Georgia State held a 50-44 rebound advantage with 24 offensive rebounds. The Panthers made 17 of 20 free throws (85%) with Troy hitting 9 of 11 (81.8%). The wide-open game saw Troy with 22 assists and GSU with 18. Troy cashed in 20 points on GSU’s 15 turnovers.

“We played with a lot of effort and did some good things, but we missed shots at the end when we needed them and we didn’t defend enough to make some key stops,” coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener said. “Troy is explosive, but so were we early. We had a lot of players contribute today, but with a loss it doesn’t mean as much.”