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Courtesy: Randy Wilson Photography
Freshman R.J. Hunter finished with 19 points and six assists on Wednesday.

Panthers Win Fourth Straight, 81-63 over UNCW

Courtesy: Mike Holmes/Sports Communications
Release: January 23, 2013
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­ATLANTA—Manny Atkins and R.J. Hunter scored 19 points each and Devonta White added 17 as Georgia State won its fourth straight game with an 81-63 victory over UNCW Wednesday at the GSU Sports Arena. 

By winning their fourth game in eight days, the Panthers improved to 10-11 overall, 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

UNCW’s Keith Rendleman tied his season high with 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double, but the Seahawks fell to 7-11, 2-4 CAA. 

Georgia State shot 51 percent from the field, and the Panthers forced 17 turnovers, which they converted into 30 points.

Hunter, one of the nation’s top scoring freshmen, also contributed six rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. His streak of 15 straight made free throws came to an end in the second half. 

Atkins, the reigning CAA Player of the Week, had four assists, four steals and four rebounds to go along with his 19 points. The top three-point shooter in the conference hit three of five from beyond the arc.

“We are playing really good basketball right now and I am really happy for these guys,” commented head coach Ron Hunter. “I kept saying that at some point things were going to change and there is no doubt that the light has definitely gone off.” 

The Panthers again got strong contributions from their bench, including Markus Crider, who had six points, a career-best 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

“Markus is really starting to come into his own,” continued Hunter. “He has worked really hard and is making the transition from playing like a freshman to playing like a second year player.” 

After trailing early, Georgia State took a 42-33 lead at the intermission. The Panthers shot 50 percent in the first half, including 7-for-15 from three-point range. GSU led by as many as 19, but a late 7-0 run by the Seahawks cut into the lead.

UNCW pulled within six at 46-40 early in the second half, but back-to-back treys by White and Hunter, sandwiched around a Seahawk bucket, pushed the Panthers lead to 52-42. UNCW never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. 

Senior James Vincent added a pair of blocked shots to move into third place on GSU’s all-time blocked shots list.

Freshman David Travers came off the bench to score five points, making a pair of baskets and a free throw in 16 minutes of action, while Rashaad Richardson chipped in with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. 

The win gave the Panthers five straight over the visiting Seahawks.

Georgia State outscored UNCW 30-7 off turnovers, forcing the Seahawks to give the ball up 17 times on 13 GSU steals, just one short of a season high. 

Chris Dixon added 20 points for UNCW which fell to 0-10 on the road this season.

Georgia State will return to the road and travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to face Drexel at noon. The road trip will continue in Boston on Jan. 30 taking on first place Northeastern.

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