Vincent, White lead GSU to first victory

Devonta White and James Vincent haven’t had the best starts to the season for Georgia State.

But Vincent tied a school record with nine blocks and White scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Panthers to a 62-49 victory in Monday’s home opener against Monmouth at the Sports Arena.

Afterward, coach Ron Hunter was more pleased with one than the other.

“We won for two reasons. No. 1, our defense carried us and the other was our big fella came to play,” Hunter said, slapping Vincent’s thigh.

The 6-10 Vincent, who has had issues with consistency, was too much for Monmouth’s front court, which didn’t feature a player taller than 6-9. He tied a record first set by Sylvester Morgan against Mercer in 2005. Georgia State finished with 13, one short of tying the school record set against Florida International last year. Partially because of Vincent, Georgia State’s defense limited the Hawks to 27.8 percent shooting.

Vincent, who finished with five points and eight rebounds, didn’t know that he tied the school record, but looked forward to calling his high school coach, Northside’s Kenneth Lawrence in Columbus, to tell him.

“This guy can be really good, he has no idea how good he can be,” Hunter said.

Hunter wasn’t as effusive about White, who continued to struggle in the first half until finding his shooting stroke in the second half.

White was the team’s leading scorer after the first two games with a 16.5 points-per-game average, but he was shooting 36.7 percent. He also had more turnovers (11) than assists (four). He improved in some of those areas Monday, hitting 45.4-percent of his shots with four assists but five turnovers.

But Hunter knows White can do more, perhaps by trying to do less.

“He’s playing too fast,” Hunter said. “He’s playing 10 times times faster than he did a year ago. He’s in a hurry, like his coach. He has to slow down. He’s the one that’s driving our car and our car is always out of control. I know that we will get there.”

Georgia State will host Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the continuation of this region of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Tigers are coached by former Panther Travis Williams. Tennessee State defeated South Alabama, 68-57, giving Williams his first victory on the Division I level. South Alabama will take on Monmouth at 4 p.m. to open Tuesday’s action.

After a scrappy, or sloppy, first half in which Georgia State closed with a 7-2 run to take a 30-23 lead, the Panthers came out in the second half rolling on offense.

White scored five consecutive points and R.J. Hunter added a 3-pointer to complete an 8-0 run and give the Panthers a 38-23 lead with 17:20 left in the game.

It was a much different start than the in the first half, when the Panthers committed five turnovers on their first six possessions and had trouble running their offensive sets throughout the half.

The Panthers cleaned up their issues in the second half and continued the run, opening up a 41-25 lead on a three-point play by Rashaad Richardson with 15:04 left.

Though the Panthers shot 51.2 percent, an improvement of almost 15 percent on the season average, Hunter said it’s the defense, led by Vincent, that will allow him to get his seven minutes of sleep Monday.

“We want to be great and that wasn’t a great effort,” he said.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

12 comments Add your comment

GSU_MEX_ALUM

November 19th, 2012
11:52 pm

Our team is still looking for their identity… If we find it early into the season we xs expect 20+ wins again.

Student section: Keep up the good work and bring more students!!

Go Panthers!!!

GSU_MEX_ALUM

November 19th, 2012
11:52 pm

ajg-marietta

November 20th, 2012
12:07 am

It was an impressive effort by Vincent tonight. Coach Hunter seems to be getting the best from his players. It is fun to watch.

itsmeagain

November 20th, 2012
1:13 am

Impressive turnout considering most students have gone home for thanksgiving already. I am disappointed at the alums not holding up their end though.

RidgeRunner

November 20th, 2012
8:44 am

Miss the students from the exhibition games. Long for their return.

Oak came through in his best game of his GSU career. Way to play. Like what I saw from some of the new players like Crider. Improvements game by game. Baby steps to get where they can be this season.

Great write up Doug.

STATEment

November 20th, 2012
8:59 am

Decent win. Have to continue to improve.

BBFan

November 20th, 2012
9:53 am

Nice start at home. We won by double digits and know we played far from a clean game. Tay will be fine.

The guy who concerns me the most right now is Manny Atkins. We have to get more from him to have a great season.

John Bond

November 20th, 2012
10:03 am

This team needs to work on its offense.

Shooter

November 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

Great game Panthers, yeah a little sloppy but a W is a W. Regarging Devonta he played great and FYI Hunter if it weren’t for his ball handling we would have had 50 turnovers. Your kid is not a great ball handler and made a terrible drive to the basket that if any other player would have done you would have lost it. Long story short your favoritism is starting to show and it is not going unnoticed.
Just saying

Chicken Bone

November 20th, 2012
1:09 pm

Agree with GSU MEX ALUM still looking for our identity. Like what I see from the free throw line compared to last year. Defense is not as good as last year yet but it is improving. Offense has to gel in order for us to dominate in the VAA. We can do it as I Believe in CRH and staff. GO PANTHERS!

Jackson

November 20th, 2012
3:27 pm

Hunter get’s these kids to play up to their potential.

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