Georgia State defeated James Madison 67-64 on Tuesday in Harrisonburg, Va. Free throws, the team’s weaknesses this season, was a strength against the Dukes.
The Panthers, hitting 64.6 percent of their free throws this season, hit nine of 10 in the final 3:06, including five of six in the final minute, to secure the win.
With three games remaining, the Panthers need only to win two to hit the 20-victory plateau. They will host Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.
Here’s the good and bad (which doesn’t include that the team is taking a bus all the way back to Atlanta) of Tuesday’s victory:
Jihad Ali. He scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, both team highs. He has scored at least 12 points in seven consecutive games.
Free throws. It’s been so rare this season I figure I’d mention it again. They hit 21 of 24 in the game. The 21 tied for the second-most made this season.
Devonta White. He scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer with less two minutes remaining.
Rashaad Richardson. He lost his starting spot to Brandon McGee, but still scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The conference race. The Panthers need help to keep alive their hopes of finishing in fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association, which comes with a bye in the conference tournament. The teams they are chasing, Delaware and Old Dominion, won Tuesday. With two conference games remaining, the Panthers need the Monarchs to lose both, and the Blue Hens to lose at least one. Georgia State will host Old Dominion on Feb. 22.
Killer instinct. The Panthers again couldn’t put away a team when it had a big lead. The Panthers led by 11 in the first half and twice led by nine in the second half. Each time the Dukes rallied enough to make the game interesting. Other examples from the recent past:
Is you were curious, Pike High School was defeated by Hamilton Southeastern 107-98 on Tuesday. Pike is led by R.J. Hunter, son of Georgia State coach Ron Hunter. R.J. was playing his last game at home. He scored a team-high 31 points.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu