Kingston, R.I.—Georgia State suffered
its third straight close loss, falling 65-60 at Rhode Island Saturday afternoon
at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I., despite 23 points by freshman R.J.Hunter.
The Panthers have dropped three
straight games by a total of eight points to fall to 5-7 on the season. Rhode
Island improved to 4-7 and has won three of four.
Rhode Island’s Xavier Munford scored
all 17 of his points in the second half, including 12 straight in a key run
that put Rhode Island ahead for good.
With the score tied at 42-all and just
under nine minutes to play, Munford scored 12 consecutive points for the Rams,
including three straight three-pointers—one of them a four-point play--to put
URI ahead 54-44 with six minutes left.
Georgia State fought back, pulling
within 59-57 on a layup by Rashaad Richardson with 2:22 left, but the Rams
answered with a bucket by Mike Powell to move ahead by four. URI added a free
throw with 1:47 left, but after a three-point play by Manny Atkins, GSU trailed
62-60 with 1:27 to play.
After a miss by the Rams, the Panthers
had a possession to tie or take the lead, but Devonta White’s driving layup was
blocked with 28 seconds left. But Munford made only one of two free throws
giving GSU one final chance to tie, but Atkins’ three-point try was off the
mark with 12 seconds left.
“We just have to learn how to finish
games,” said GSU head coach Ron Hunter. “We played hard, but our margin of
error is thin. We didn’t lose the game because we played badly; we just have to
make a few more plays at the end.
“These are the growing pains of
building a program,” Hunter continued. “Our fortunes will turn.”
The Panthers got off to a slow start,
missing their first seven shots from the field to fall behind 10-1. GSU trailed
22-12 with six minutes to play in the half, but a three-pointer by White and a
pair of free throws by Hunter in the final minute sent GSU into the locker room
with a 27-24 deficit. Hunter scored 12 of the Panthers’ 24 points in the first
Georgia State stayed close for the
first 10 minutes of the second half before final tying the game on Richardson’s
three-pointer with 10:40 left, but the Panthers never led in the game.
Hunter, who also had six rebounds,
topped the 20-point mark for the second straight game and the fifth time this
season. Atkins contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals for GSU,
and White added 14 points.
Georgia State managed to shoot just
39.6 percent from the field, including 4-for-17 from beyond the arc. Rhode
Island was only slightly better at 44.7 percent, but the Rams made eight
three-pointers. Nicola Malesevic led URI with 22 points
Georgia State’s next game is next
Saturday at Georgia Southern in a 3 p.m. tipoff. The next home game for the
Panthers is the Jan.2 Colonial Athletic Association opener versus Drexel.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m., and tickets are available by calling 866-GA-STATE or