Here’s a copy of last night’s game story, if you didn’t see it.
Georgia State coach Ron Hunter arrived earlier this year with a reputation for a high-powered offense.
Georgia State (5-3) blew out Florida International 73-47 on Thursday at the Sports Arena by limiting Isiah Thomas’ team to 24.1-percent shooting, including 20 missed 3-pointers in 24 tries.
“In 18 years I don’t think I’ve had a team like this defensively,” Hunter said.
It was the Panthers’ fifth consecutive win, the longest winning streak since the 2003-04 season. They started the season with three consecutive losses at the World Vision Classic in Seattle as the team began adjusting to Hunter’s up-tempo systems.
When they got back to Atlanta, Hunter decided to scrap some of the defensive concepts he was trying to institute in Seattle and went back to more familiar schemes, such as a 1-3-1 matchup zone and different presses.
The Panthers have picked up the changes quickly.
They have averaged 70.8 points and limited opponents to 49.6 during the winning streak. They are outrebounding (43–34.2) and outshooting (43.8 percent to 31.6) foes.
“Our defense in Washington was pathetic, and that was on me,” Hunter said. “It was too early. But this team definitely plays defense with a chip on their shoulder. I coach with a chip on my shoulder.”
Florida International (2-4) tried to use its smaller lineup of shooters to stretch the Panthers’ defense. Instead, the strategy left its three and sometimes four guards covered and GSU forward Eric Buckner free to roam the middle. He had eight blocks, one less than the school record. However, the team still set the school record for blocks with 14 and forced 16 turnovers.
“Everybody on the outside is playing hard,” said Buckner, who also had seven points and seven rebounds.
Georgia State took a 38-34 lead eight minutes into the second half and used its defense to pull away, allowing Florida International only five points during the next eight minutes.
Tony Kimbro Jr. gave the Panthers a 12-point lead, their largest of the game at the point, on a 3-pointer from the corner with less than 10 minutes remaining. The basket came in the middle of a 23-5 run that gave Georgia State a 61-39 lead with 4:57 remaining.
“We know that if we set the tempo [defensively], we can dictate the rest of the game,” said Rashaad Richardson, who led Georgia State with 14 points.