Richmond, Va.--Jihad Ali scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Georgia State to its school-record 11th straight victory, 55-53, at VCU Wednesday at the Siegel Center.
The Panthers (11-3, 3-0 CAA), who snapped VCU's eight-game winning streak, led by nine points with just over two minutes to play but had to withstand a furious Rams' comeback and survive a final three-point attempt by Troy Daniels in the waning seconds.
The win is Georgia State's first at VCU and the marks the Panthers' second win against the Rams in the last three tries. The Panthers' winning streak was tied for the seventh longest in the nation entering the evening.
Sophomore Devonta White added 14 points, including a pair of key second half three-pointers to spur the first-place Panthers. Senior Josh Micheaux added eight points, six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in 37 minutes.
VCU (11-4, 2-1 CAA) was held to just 27.1 percent from the floor. It was the sixth lowest opponent shooting percentage against Georgia State since 1999. Bradford Burgess and Rob Brandenburg combined to hit just 1-of-25 from the floor.
"I am so proud of our team tonight," commented head coach Ron Hunter. "Our team played hard and left it all on the court. I am just happy for my players. They have worked hard and they deserve this win."
The Panthers took control of the game early. A mid-court steal and lay-up by Micheaux gave GSU an early 10-5 lead with 11:57 to play in the first half, causing VCU to call its first time-out.
Following a put back by junior James Vincent that extended the lead to 12-5, VCU responded with an 8-0 run to take a 13-12 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the half. It was the Rams' only lead of the game.
Ali heated up late in the half, scoring seven straight Panther points as Georgia State built a 23-18 lead with 4:45 to play in the half. State went into halftime leading 28-25.
The Panthers continued to build their lead in the second as White's jumper with 16:27 to play pushed GSU's advantage to 36-27.
Georgia State held VCU without a field goal for nearly seven minutes, allowing the Rams just seven free throws.
White's second three-pointer gave GSU a 46-39 lead with 7:46 to play.
A pair of free throws by James Fields gave the Panthers a nine-point lead with 7:11 to play, their biggest of the game. Fields finished with six points, hitting 4-of-5 from the line.
Troy Daniels' three-pointer with 1:31 to play cut State's lead to three with at 53-50.
On Monday, Georgia State started a stretch of three games in six days against the top three teams in the CAA preseason poll. The Panthers ended Drexel's six-game winning streak with a 58-44 victory, before ending the Rams' streak tonight.
Georgia State will return to action on Saturday night, facing George Mason at 7 p.m. The game will air live on CSS, the first of back-to-back games on CSS for the Panthers. The game can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the Panther Pregame Show. Live stats are available at GeorgiaStateSports.com.