R.J. Hunter tied Rodney Hamilton’s Georgia State men’s basketball scoring record of 1,515 as the Panthers defeated the Arkansas State Red Wolves 60-54. The win brings the Georgia State record to 12-7 and 5-3 in Sun Belt play.
With no Ryan Harrow in the lineup, other players had to step up. The Panthers began the game on a 7-0 run with two early points from Markus Crider and five from Kevin Ware.
The Red Wolves answered with a 7-0 run of their own as redshirt junior guard Sean Gardner led the way with five of the seven points. The other two came from free throws by junior guard Cameron Golden after being fouled by Ware. This tied the two teams at seven.
Georgia State retook the lead with one free throw by Curtis Washington after being fouled by junior forward Charles Waters. With the score 8-7, a three by Ryann Green extended the Panthers’ lead to 11-7 before Golden responded with a three of his own, and bringing Arkansas State back within one at 11-10.
Ware then increased his point output to seven as Georgia State led 13-10. The Panthers maintained their early three-point lead with the score at 15-12.
Sophomore forward Anthony Livingston scored his first two points off free throws after being fouled by Isaiah Dennis bringing the Red Wolves within 15-14. A three-pointer by R.J. Hunter along with two each from Dennis and Green extended the Panthers’ lead to 22-14.
A three from Gardner got the Red Wolves within 22-17, but he would then foul Hunter, who made a pair of free throws, giving Georgia State a 24-17 advantage.
With the scoreboard reading 26-19 in the Panthers’ favor, three consecutive points from Ware gave the Panthers a 29-19 lead. Arkansas State would then go on a 5-0 run that saw a three-pointer by Gardner along with Livingston and junior forward Kelvin Downs each making one of two from the line to close the gap to 29-24.
With three seconds left in the half, the Red Wolves would get a three from Livingston completing an 8-0 run and make the score 29-27 going into halftime.
On Georgia State’s first possession of the first half, Crider was charged with a foul against Gardner who made a pair from the line as well as the Panthers led 31-29.
It would be followed by a layup from Livingston to tie the score at 31. The next Georgia State possession saw Green miss a shot, get his own offensive rebound, then put in a layup giving the Panthers a 33-31 lead, but a three by Gardner with 14:36 left to play placed the Red Wolves ahead 34-33.
The lead would not last long over the three minutes, the Panthers got two points each from a Hunter, Crider, Dennis and Jordan session, which equaled an 8-0 run and a 41-34 lead.
Dennis was then charged with a foul against Gardner, who made only one of two from the line. After a two-point jumper and a free throw by Dennis, the Panthers’ lead became 44-35.
Two out of the next three Arkansas State possessions saw Livingston make two free throws cutting the Georgia State lead to 44-39.
Livingston was then charged with a foul against Washington who made only one of two from the line. Then Green fouled Livingston to put him back at the line where he made both of his free throws bringing the Red Wolves within four at 45-41.
After a two-point jumper from Hunter bringing the lead back out to six at 47-41, the Panthers called timeout with just over five minutes remaining. Arkansas State then got a dunk by Waters and a jumper from Gardner to close within 47-45.
Two more made free throws by Hunter gave the Panthers a 49-45 lead, but this was followed up by three more points from Gardner as the gap became only one at 49-48.
Over the next three minutes, Hunter and Livingston exchanged the next six points for their respective teams as the Panthers led 55-54. Georgia State closed the game with a 5-0 run with four points coming off made free throws by Hunter. The last free throw tied Rodney Hamilton’s Panthers scoring record.
The other free throw make came courtesy of Crider. Ultimately, the Panthers would get back in the win column on the road for the first time since November with a 60-54 win over Arkansas State.
Georgia State will return to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon at the Sports Arena as they face their arch Sun Belt rival Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m.
|Hunter: 23 points, 12-12 free throws
|Ware: 10 points, 4-9 shooting
|Livingston: 20 points
|Gardner: 19 points, 6-11 shooting