By Alex Osiadacz (@AlexOsiadacz)
Georgia State claimed its ninth win in a row and remains undefeated in the Sun Belt with Saturday’s victory over Arkansas-Little Rock, which featured 25 points from RJ Hunter, 22 points from Manny Atkins, and double-digit points from the three other starters.
Some late errors by the Georgia State (12-6 overall, 5-0 Sun Belt) bench prevented the team’s highest scoring game of the season to break 100 points, but still the Panthers cruised past Arkansas-Little Rock (9-9 overall, 4-2 Sun Belt) 99-73.
“I can’t see the ceiling with this group,” head coach Ron Hunter said “last year, two years ago, I could see it, but this team is
Manny Atkins scored the first two baskets for Georgia State, and went on to have a 22 point night shooting 4-for-5 in the paint and making four 3-point-shots as well as leading the team with five steals. RJ Hunter was the only Panther to make all of his free throws, 3-for-3, and added six 3-point-shots.
UALR’s James White and Will Neighbour led their team in points and rebounds. White scored 23 of the Trojan’s 73 points, and Neighbour had five rebounds in addition to scoring 18 points.
The Panthers led the Trojans by 30 points heading into halftime, but were outscored 44-40 in the second half.
“This was the first time I’ve been up 30 points at halftime in my career,” Hunter said.
A scuffle broke-out halfway through the second half that resulted in ULAR’s Leroy Isler being rejected from the game for spitting gum at of one of the Panthers. By the time of publication, officials had not issued a suspension for Isler extending beyond Saturday’s game.
Georgia State Athletic Director Cheryl Levick said that a call would be placed to the Sun Belt Conference regarding the incident and possibly seeking a suspension for Isler.
Saturday’s “Barefoot for Bare Feet” game featured head coach Ron Hunter and his staff showing support for the Samaritan’s Feet organization by coaching without shoes. Georgia State announced late in the week that Hunter will take his team to Central America to distribute shoes.
Hunter is 3-0 coaching barefoot since bringing the tradition to Georgia State in 2011.
Georgia State’s next game will be at Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday, January 23rd. The Panthers will be back home on January 30th when they will play South Alabama at 7 p.m.