ATLANTA – R.J. Hunter scored 27 points and Curtis Washington tied the Georgia State record with nine blocked shots as the Panthers opened the regular season with a 97-78 victory over Southern Poly Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena.
Georgia State (1-0) achieved its highest scoring output under head coach Ron Hunter and its highest since a 97-92 victory over Troy on Nov. 24, 2007.
Hunter went 7-for-13 from the field, including five 3-pointers, and was a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line as he equaled the second-highest scoring game of his career, bettered only by his 38 points last season against Old Dominion. The 6-5 sophomore also contributed seven rebounds and four assists.
Washington, the 6-9 transfer from Southern California playing his first regular-season game for the Panthers, tied the GSU record originally set by Sylvester Morgan against Mercer in 2005 and then equaled by James Vincent last season against Monmouth. Washington also had six points and seven rebounds in his Panther debut.
“I thought we played really well in spurts,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We did a pretty good job shooting the ball and I was really pleased with the way we shot free throws. My only disappointment was in our rebounding as we cannot give up 21 offensive rebounds. We will continue to work on that.”
Also playing his first game in a GSU uniform, Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow had 20 points and six assists. Devonta White added 14 points and five assists, and Manny Atkins contributed to 13 points and nine rebounds to give the Panthers four players in double figures.
White moved into 16th-place on GSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,014 points. The senior moved ahead of Chris Collier and is now just three points shy of Travis Williams for 15th on the all-time list.
Georgia State shot 44 percent from the field with half of its 66 field goal attempts coming from beyond the 3-point arc, where the Panthers made 11. GSU went 28-of-32 at the free throw line.
Marcus Dortch led Southern Poly (2-1) with 20 points and seven rebounds.
After trailing 10-9 early, the Panthers used a 30-6 run to take a 39-16 lead with seven minutes left in the half. Southern Poly answered by scoring 16 straight points, pulling within 39-33 with two minutes to go before GSU closed the half with 10 straight points. Hunter’s deep three from the top of the key with two seconds left sent the Panthers into the locker room with a 49-33 advantage.
Georgia State then scored the first 13 points of the second half for a 23-0 run, pushing their lead to 62-33.
Next up for the Panthers is a trip to Vanderbilt next Tuesday. Tipoff in Nashville, Tenn., is 8 p.m. ET.