ATLANTA-Georgia State opened the Ron Hunter era with a 90-65 exhibition victory over Southern Poly Monday at the GSU Sports Arena. Senior forward Brandon McGee led the Panthers with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore guard Devonta White added 19 points.
McGee's double-double was one of three for the Panthers as Josh Micheaux and Jihad Ali contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds each. James Fields added 14 points.
McGee finished 7-of-13 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. State finished with seven as a team.
"The team was a little nervous before the game and I was nervous for them," commented Hunter after the win. "They want to do so well and they want to show everyone that they can win. We needed a performance like this desperately tonight as it is just something that you can't get in practice and will help prepare us for the future."
The Panthers shot 45 percent for the game, including 52 percent in the second half, and outrebounded Southern Poly, 57-34.
After building an early 13-12 lead, the Hornets gave up eight straight points to the Panthers with just over six minutes remaining in the half. Building a 20-12 lead, the Panthers never looked back.
"I think the energy in the crowd was great and along with a new coach and new system caused us to push a little early," continued Hunter. "Once we got things going, we were able to show that our style of play really worked in the second half, leading us to 54 points on the scoreboard."
Jessie Childs led Southern Poly with 17 points off the bench. Derwin Gage added nine points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets.
The Panthers held Southern Poly to 34.4 percent shooting form the field and just 28.1 percent from behind the arc. GSU held the Hornets to without a field goal over the final 4:20.
Georgia State hosts its second exhibition game against Oglethorpe Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Sports Arena. The Panthers open the regular season Nov. 12 at Washington in the World Vision Classic in Seattle, Wash.