Towson, Md. - Freshman R.J. Hunter’s three-pointer with one-minute to play and blocked shot with less than two seconds left led Georgia State to a 71-69 win over Towson on Monday night at the Towson Center Arena.
Hunter finished with a career-high 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting, hitting four three-pointers and going a perfect 5-of-5 from the line.
In a tightly-contested game that saw 14 ties and nine lead changes, neither team ever led by more than six points.
Towson (10-10, 5-2 CAA), one of the best rebounding teams in the country, was outrebounded by Georgia State (9-11, 4-3 CAA), 35-31.
Devonta White added 14 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Panthers. Junior Rashaad Richardson chipping in with 11, including a trio of three-pointers, while pulling down five boards.
Georgia State extended its winning streak to three games and is now 4-4 in games decided by one possession or less. The Panthers got a boost when the school's marching band was able to attend and cheer the team on to victory. The band had marched that day in the Presidential Inauguration Parade an hour away in Washington, D.C.
Up by one point with 1:02 remaining and the shot clock winding down, Hunter drained a three-pointer from the top of the key and from NBA-range to give the Panthers a four-point lead.
After a three-point miss by Towson’s Jerome Hairston with 53 seconds left, Marcus Damas got an offensive rebound for the Tigers and Hairston followed with a jumper in the lane with 46 seconds remaining to cut the lead to two.
Hunter missed a three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining, but with Towson out of timeouts, the Tigers had to come down the court and Damas’ three-pointer with less than two seconds left was blocked by Hunter. Markus Crider pulled down the rebound for GSU, securing the victory.
“I am so glad for these guys because we have struggled in close games lately,” commented head coach Ron Hunter. “I told them at one point all the hard work was going to pay off. We kept grinding and tonight we came out on top.
“We are playing really good basketball right now, but I still do not think that we have peaked. We made some really clutch plays on this road trip and are continuing to build our confidence.
“As both a dad and a coach, I am really proud of R.J. Just a week ago, we thought he might be lost for the season. He really stepped up and made some great plays tonight.”
"We really appreciate the band coming to the game and supporting GSU. They made a difference and the team heard them cheering and it picked us up."
The Panthers biggest lead of the game was six following a pair of three-pointers by Atkins and Hunter, giving GSU a 24-18 lead with 5:28 to play in the first half. Georgia State went into the locker room leading 33-31 after Hunter hit three free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining in the half.
Towson opened the second half with two quick three’s to take a 37-33 lead, their biggest lead with 18:01 to play, before Atkins responded with a three to start a 7-0 run as the Panthers went ahead 40-37 with 15:55 to play.
Atkins finished the game with nine points and six rebounds after being named CAA co-Player of the Week earlier in the day.
Jerrelle Benimon led Towson with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Hairston chipped in with 16 and Mike Burwell added 14.
Senior James Vincent scored six points for GSU and pulled down four rebounds, while added three blocked shots. He is now tied with Nate Williams for third in Georgia State history with 113 blocked shots and moved into fourth in single-season history with 51.
Crider came off the bench for Georgia State, adding four points, six rebounds and three assists.
Georgia State will return home to face UNCW on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can be purchased by calling 1-866-GA-STATE or going online at GeorgiaStateSports.com.