Seattle, Wash.-Georgia State opened the Ron Hunter era with a 91-74 loss to Washington on the first day of the World Vision Classic at Alaska Airlines Arena. Sophomore Rashaad Richardson came off the bench to score 21 points, hitting 7-of-10 from behind the arc.
Hunter was making his first regular season appearance on the sidelines for Georgia State after 17 successful seasons at IUPUI.
The Panthers fell to 0-1 with the loss. State will face Portland on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Pilots earned a 70-65 victory over Florida Atlantic earlier in the day.
Richardson, who played only 105 minutes last season, entered the game about three minutes in and finished with 27, grabbing five rebounds and adding a first half spark.
In limited time, Richardson made just seven field goals during the 2010-11 season. His 70 percent three-point percentage tied for the third highest single-game mark in Georgia State history. The seven three-pointers are tied for sixth most in a single game in school history.
"When Rashaad starts to make a couple of shots like he did this afternoon, he starts to play with a ton of confidence," commented Hunter. "He added a great spark for us off the bench in the first half and I was proud of his effort."
However, the Panthers could not overcome a 14-7 first half foul disadvantage that put several starters into foul trouble, including sophomore Devonta White and senior Eric Buckner who each had three fouls before the break. Three other Panthers picked up two fouls in the first half.
Washington (1-0) used its size advantage to outrebound the Panthers 44-36, scoring 42 points in the paint.
"Honestly, I felt like this was an NCAA Tournament game tonight," continued Hunter. "I think our team is really good. I have coached against a lot of good teams and this might be one of the best I have ever coached against. Our team really competed hard and played the style of basketball that I want to play.
"We didn't play smart at times, but we never gave up. We took their big guys out of the game like I wanted to and made them make jump shots. We executed our game plan, they just made their shots and we tip our cap to them."
C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies with 22 points, going 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range. He grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists, grabbing two of the Huskies six steals..
Darnell Gant added 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Tony Wroten finished with 18, pulling down seven boards.
Georgia State trailed just 43-33 at halftime, even with the foul trouble and Washington holding a 19-8 advantage in free throws.
Trailing 11-2 just over 3:30 in the game, the Panthers used a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 13-12. Richardson made his first appearance of the game, making a pair of three's.
After Washington took a 23-17 lead, Richardson hit another pair of three's to tie the game and force Washington to call its first time-out of the game with 7:58 remaining in the first half.
The Huskies pulled away in the second half, leading by as much at 26 with 13:21 to play before the Panthers finished strong.
It marked the first of three games on the West Coast for the Panthers. GSU will finish the World Vision Classic on Monday night facing former conference foe Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m.
Sunday's game will be joined live in-progress on WRAS-FM 88.5 following the conclusion of the GSU women's basketball season opener against Arizona which tips off at 4 p.m. Monday night's game will air live with the Panther Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
Live stats of both remaining games can be found at GeorgiaStateSports.com.