ATLANTA—In head coach Ron Hunter’s annual “Barefoot for Bare Feet” game, Georgia State overcame a 14-point deficit to earn a 74-58 Colonial Athletic Association victory over William & Mary Wednesday at the GSU Sports Arena.
For the sixth straight season and second time at Georgia State, Hunter coached a game in his bare feet in support of Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that distributes shoes to children in need around the world. A season-high crowd of 2,350 turned out for the game.
Manny Atkins scored 21 points and grabbed five steals for Georgia State, which improved to 7-11 overall, 2-3 in the CAA while handing William & Mary (7-9, 1-4 CAA) its sixth straight loss.
“I want to thank my players for lifting me up tonight,” commented Hunter after the win. “This has always been a hard game for me to coach because of what it means to me. My players did a great job tonight.
“That is probably the best team win I have had as a coach. We had three guys not in uniform, our leading scorer was limited and we had more adversity than you could image. Guys who had not played all year stepped up and played well. That is all I can ask.”
Georgia State fell behind 32-18 with three minutes left in the first half before closing with a 10-1 run as Kevin Shaw’s three-pointer just ahead of the halftime buzzer brought the Panthers within 33-28 at the intermission.
The Panthers still trailed 43-40 five minutes into the second half, but Georgia State outscored the Tribe 22-5 over the next 12 minutes to build a 62-49 lead with three minutes to play.
Rashaad Richardson’s jumper put the Panthers ahead for good at 44-43 with 14:36. After GSU forced a turnover, Markus Crider made a driving layup, and then Richardson added a layup off for a 48-43 lead.
Leading 50-47, Georgia State scored 10 straight points as David Travers nailed a three-pointer, Crider grabbed a steal in the backcourt and fed Atkins for a layup, and Richardson drained a three. James Vincent punctuated the spurt with a dunk off an assist from Devonta White, and the Panthers led 60-47 with less than five minutes left.
In addition to Atkins’ 21 points, Richardson scored 12 for the Panthers and White added 11.
The Panthers also got strong contributions from the bench as Travers scored a career-high eight points, Crider contributed six points and a career-best eight rebounds, and Ryann Green had two points and four rebounds.
After a sluggish first half, Georgia State shot 52 percent from the field and a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line in the second half while committing just one turnover after the intermission.
For the game, the Panthers were 23-for-25 at the charity stripe and have made 43-of-48 over the last two games.
Tim Rusthoven led William & Mary with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but the Tribe made just nine field goals on 29 attempts (31 percent) in the second half.
Georgia State now faces back-to-back road games at Old Dominion Saturday and then at Towson Monday before returning home Jan. 23 to host UNCW at the GSU Sports Arena.