ATLANTA--Georgia State overcame an eight-point second-half deficit for a 61-59 victory over Colonial Athletic Association foe Northeastern Wednesday at the GSU Sports Arena. Devonta White scored 13 points for the Panthers, including the go-ahead three-point basket with 1:44 left.
GSU won its third straight game to improve to 17-8 overall, 9-5 in the CAA. Northeastern fell to 11-13, 7-7 CAA.
With its 17th victory of the season, head coach Ron Hunter's Panthers have equaled the fourth-highest win total in school history. Only three GSU teams - 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04 -- have won more games than this year's squad. Georgia State's nine conference victories are its most since joining the CAA in 2005-06. State's 11 home wins are tied for the third most in program history.
"We won tonight's game because we were home and because of our defense," commented Hunter after the win. "However, at the end of the day, it is a win and that is the most important thing.
"Our team played to its strength tonight and that is defense. When we needed a big stop tonight we got it. Tonight's game was a replica of the game in Boston but at the end of the day, our defense was able to help us win the game."
After leading the entire first half, Georgia State fell behind by as many as eight points at 48-40 with less than 10 minutes to play. The Panthers stayed close and managed to tie the game at 52-all with 4:28 to play. Jihad Ali made the first of two free throws and then missed the second, but Josh Micheaux tipped in the rebound to pull the Panthers within two. Then Ali drove for a layup to tie the game.
The Huskies regained the lead on a free throw by Reggie Spencer and then a put-back by Joel Smith to move ahead 56-53 with 3:13 left. After Eric Buckner made one of two free throws, White's trey from the corner put the Panthers ahead, 57-56, with 1:44 on the clock.
But Northeastern would not go away as Jonathan Lee hit a jumper with 24 seconds left to pull the Huskies within one at 60-59. Buckner was immediately fouled and again made one of two free throws to give the Huskies a chance, but Ali grabbed steal. With the Panthers clinging to a 61-59 lead, Ali missed both free throws with six seconds left but Northeastern's final shot by Smith was off the mark.
Buckner led Georgia State with 14 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots. Micheaux nearly matched his double-double with 13 points and nine boards. Ali was the fourth Panther in double figures with 12 rebounds, along with four assists, four rebounds and three steals.
With six blocks tonight, Buckner added the GSU season record to the career record that he earned last game. The senior from Erhardt, S.C., has (86) rejections this season and (135) for his two-year career.
Georgia State jumped out to an early 14-2 lead before taking a 31-24 advantage into the locker room. Northeastern earned its first lead at 13:53 on a basket by Quincy Ford.
Smith finished with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies, while Lee added 14 points.
Georgia State will continue its home-stand on Saturday facing Delaware at 2 p.m. in the Sports Arena. Free red t-shirts will be distributed to the first 500 students in attendance and former men's basketball letterwinners will be honored at the game.
Fans can visit GeorgiaStateSports.com or call 1-866-GA-STATE to purchase tickets for the game or for tickets for the Panthers remaining three home games.