ATLANTA--Devonta White scored 20 points and Brandon McGee added 18 off the bench to lead Georgia State to its seventh straight victory, 96-64, over Rhode Island Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena. The Panthers' (7-3) winning streak is now just one shy of the school record.
GSU has won as many as seven in a row five other times, most recently twice during the 2003-04 season. The school record is an eight-game streak by the Panthers' 2001 NCAA Tournament team, coached by Charles "Lefty" Driesell. Georgia State's 7-3 start under first-year head coach Ron Hunter is the team's best since that 2000-01 team started 11-1.
Rhode Island dropped its sixth straight to fall to 1-9 on the season.
Georgia State's 96 points are the most by a Panther team since a 99-72 win over Delaware to open the 2005-06 season. Four Panthers reached double figures as Eric Buckner contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, and James Fields added 15 points, along with nine assists, which ties his career best, and three steals. It was the 100th game of Fields career at Georgia State.
"Defense has really been our staple this year, but today was the first time that offensively we played the way I want us to," commented Hunter after the game. "Our team is building a lot of confidence right now and as things continue to come together, I think we can be a very good team."
White, the sophomore point guard from Alpharetta, Ga., also had five assists and three steals while keying Georgia State's fast-paced attack, which produced 32 fast break points but just nine turnovers. White shot 8-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line.
White keyed a first-half run that gave the Panthers control of the game. Trailing 11-7, the Panthers went on a 20-4 run to take a 27-15 lead. The sophomore made a pair of three's, while Buckner scored a pair of thunderous dunks. White added a bucket, McGee hit a three, and then Fields' steal and layup put the Panthers ahead, 27-15, with nine minutes in the half.
Buckner finished the game 6-of-7 from the floor and added two blocks. He now has 83 in his career and is just one shy of Sylvestor Morgan for fifth on the school's all-time list.
McGee's third three-pointer extended the Panthers lead to 35-20 with 6:17 to play in the first half. The senior finished 6-of-7 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three-point range in 20 minutes of action.
"I am really happy with the way our guards played," continued Hunter. "After a stretch of four games in eight days, they were pretty tired as would be expected, but they came out and played with a ton of energy today and really sparked us in the first half."
The Panthers led 46-33 at the intermission in part to shooting 53 percent from the floor and committing just one turnover.
"Our defense creates our offense and when teams take three's against us, we are going to get out and run," commented Hunter. "Today we were able to take advantage of some fast break baskets and our team fed off that.
"We are still learning to win. Our team is enjoying it and I am enjoying it for them."
Georgia State used a late 9-0 run in the middle of the second half to push the lead to 67-41 with 11:50 to play. State led by as much as 36 with 5:30 to play after a lay-up by McGee.
The Panthers finished the game shooting a season-high 54.8 percent, knocking down 20-of-26 from the free throw line. GSU swiped 11 steals, while turning the ball over just nine times.
Jamal Wilson led the Rams with 20 points, while Orion Outerbridge added 13.
Freshman walk-on Tyler Gamble scored the first basket of his career to finish off the win for State.
Georgia State will look to tie the school record for consecutive wins in Orem, Utah on Dec. 17, facing Utah Valley. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. ET.
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.