Birmingham, Ala.-Redshirt-senior Jihad Ali came off the bench to score a team-high 20 points to give Georgia State a 55-47 victory over Samford on Tuesday night at the Pete Hanna Center. The Panthers won for the second straight time and for the first time on the road under first-year head coach Ron Hunter.
Ali hit 7-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, finishing just two points shy of a career-high set against George Mason in 2010.
Senior Josh Micheaux finished just one rebound shy of his second straight double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down nine rebounds. Micheaux was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and dished out three assists in 34 minutes.
"As coaches, you always want to play well and get the victory," commented Hunter after the win. "Sometimes you have to learn to win when things do not necessarily go your way like, as was the case tonight. We did not play well, but we were able to do the things we needed to for the win.
"I am proud of the defensive effort we gave again tonight. This is the second straight game that we have held a team to 50 points or fewer and that is not easy to do. If we keep playing great defense and getting the rebounds that we are getting, the scoring will come."
After Samford (0-3) took a 3-0 lead 1:02 into the game, Georgia State (2-3) never looked back, leading by as many as 13 points with 13:25 to play in the second half.
Sophomore Devonta White, who opened the game with back-to-back three-pointers for the Panthers, finished with 11 points and six assists after scoring a career-high 23 points against McNeese State last Friday night.
Ali, who scored 10 points in the first half, gave GSU a 17-8 lead with 8:56 remaining, forcing Samford to call its first time-out.
Although shooting just 30.0 percent in the first half, Georgia State took a 26-21 lead into the intermission, outrebounding the Bulldogs 25-12 over the first 20 minutes of the game.
The Panthers held Samford scoreless for the first 3:30 of the second half, and an Ali three-pointer with 16:13 remaining in the game built the Panthers lead to 10 at 34-24.
John Peterson led Samford with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting, pulling down three boards and making three treys.
Peterson's three-pointer with 6:18 to play cut the Panthers lead to just six, but Ali responded on the next possession with a three-pointer of his own to increase GSU's lead to nine.
The Bulldogs finished the game shooting just 36.7 percent from the floor and 29.2 percent from three-point range, hitting 7-of-24.
Senior Eric Buckner added six points and eight rebounds for the Panthers, including one block that moved him just two shy of the school's career top 10 list.
In limited time off the bench, junior James Vincent added four points and three rebounds in just 12 minutes.
Georgia State will return home on Saturday night face Liberty at 7:30 p.m. in the Sports Arena. The game can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning at 7 p.m. with the Panther Pregame Show. Live stats are available at GeorgiaStateSports.com.