ATLANTA--Jihad Ali scored 17 points and Georgia State turned in a smothering defensive effort to earn its sixth straight victory, 66-34 over William and Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association opener Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena.
The Panthers improved to 6-3, 1-0 CAA, with their longest winning streak since a pair of seven-game strings in the 2003-04 season. William and Mary fell to 1-8, 0-1 CAA.
The 6-3 mark is tied for the fifth best start in school history which was set during the Panthers run to the postseason NIT in 2002-03.
The 34 points by the Tribe are the second fewest ever by a Georgia State opponent, just one point more than the school record of 33 points allowed against Howard in 2009-10. The Panthers held William and Mary to just 25.5 percent shooting from the field, and the Tribe had more turnovers (18) than field goals (12).
"I am really proud of our team," commented head coach Ron Hunter after the win. "Not too many teams can win four games in eight days like our team just did. That was an impressive stretch. I have been around the game of basketball for a long time and I don't know if I have seen a stretch of basketball like that.
"This team has done everything I have asked of them since day one. With all of our games this week, we were barely able to get in a normal practice, but showed up for every game. To put forth this type of effort today is incredible."
During the Panthers six-game winning streak, State has held 5-of-6 opponents to 50 points or less. Teams are averaging just 47.0 points per game and shooting just 30.7 percent while State is scoring 70 points per contest and is outrebounding opponents by nearly nine a game.
Senior James Fields tied a season high with 12 points and five rebounds, hitting 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
After trailing 3-2, Georgia State went on a 14-3 run, capped by the first of two Rashaad Richardson three-pointers to lead 16-6.
Richardson's second three-pointer extended the lead to 30-13 with 1:20 to go in the first half as the Panthers were on their way to the 32-point victory. It marked State's second 30-plus point win this week.
Georgia State held William & Mary without a two-point field goal in the first half as the Tribe made four three-pointers and one free throw.
The second half was much of the same as the Panthers continued to build their lead. Senior Eric Buckner scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, finishing with six boards on 5-of-11 shooting.
Although scoring just four points, senior Josh Micheaux pulled down a team-high eight boards and dished out five assists.
James Vincent added seven points in 15 minutes on 3-of-3 shooting as Hunter used his bench more than normal.
Brandon Britt led the Tribe with eight points, while All-CAA member Quinn McDowell was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
The Panthers held a 41-28 edge on the boards.
Saturday's game marked the final of four games in eight days for Georgia State. The Panthers will take next week off during final exams before concluding a three-game home stand with Rhode Island on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Sports Arena.
Both season and individual game tickets for the 2011-12 season are now on sale. A variety of packages can be found by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com or by calling 1-866-GA-STATE.