Georgia State pulls away from Southern Poly

Continuing the trend of slow starts and strong finishes, Georgia State use its depth and defense to shake free of Southern Poly for a 86-58 victory on Saturday at the Sports Arena.

Whether mentally tired from a week’s worth of finals, or perhaps overlooking their NAIA-level opponent, the Panthers (5-4) had a two-point lead at the half and didn’t seem to become fully engaged in the game until the second half in which they held the Hornets to 23 points.

“The second half if the kind of energy and defense we should be playing,” coach Ron Hunter said. “We won’t make excuses for why we didn’t want to play in the first half defensively. We acted like we were still taking finals, which we are.”

R.J. Hunter and Devonta White led the Panthers on offense. Hunter scored 21 points, including eight in the decisive run. White added 16 points and four assists, including a no-look pass to James Vincent that led to a dunk that got the team and crowd fired up with 15:26 left in the second half. Ryann Green and Vincent gave the team energy on defense.

“His (Vincent) energy was incredible,” Hunter said. “Same as Ryann. We’ve just got to get everybody else on the same page.”

Southern Poly (5-5) played in Greenville, S.C. Friday night. As a result, they dressed just eight players on Saturday. But they ignored tired legs and got all the offense the needed early on 3-point shooting from Chase Robinson, who poured in 19 points with five 3-pointers in the first half. Averaging 11.3 points this season, he led all scorers with 27 points.

But those shots dried up in the half. After the Hornets hit nine of their 20 3-point attempts in the first half, they hit just three of 11 in the second to finish with a 38.7 percentage.

Those hot hands kept the game interesting early.

Each time Georgia State would open up a slim lead in the first half, Southern Poly would answer with a 3-pointer. Devon Butler gave Southern Poly a 35-34 lead with less than 20 seconds remaining in the half before Hunter answered to give the Panthers a 37-35 lead at the half.

Hunter started Georgia State’s scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer, followed by a jumper to give the Panthers a 42-40 lead. White added consecutive baskets before Hunter hit another 3-pointer to give the Panthers a nine-point advantage.

“I think we settled down a little bit,” R.J. Hunter said. “I don’t know what it is. We kind of regrouped. We knew we had to play better. We just came out and took better shots.”

White then got the crowd into the game by driving down the lane and dropping off a pass to Vincent, who attacked down the baseline. He caught the ball and put in a two-handed dunk to give Georgia State a 51-40 lead. The Hornets weren’t able to get within nine points the rest of the game.

“I hadn’t had one since the first four games,” Vincent said of his dunk. “I felt like if I could get one everybody would get hyped up. It did work.”

Notes: Forward LaRon Smith, expected to redshirt this season, saw his first action. He played three minutes. Hunter said he wanted to re-evaluate the team after eight games, and he decided he wasn’t happy with the play from the centers. … Hunter was honored before the game after picking up his 300th win in last week’s victory over Liberty. He received a basketball that he said will go in his office with some others he has earned during his career. … New football coach Trent Miles, who was introduced on Monday, spoke at halftime. He signed autographs after the game.

Other headlines

Part I of Q&A with Trent Miles

Becker and Levick react to Sun Belt changes

Trent Miles quickly putting Georgia State staff together

Trent Miles has a plan for Georgia State

Three questions with Trent Miles

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

16 comments Add your comment


December 8th, 2012
6:16 pm

Big day for Oak. Good second half turn around.


December 8th, 2012
6:22 pm

GSU fans, did you hear about my Mercer Bears losing by 29 points to a 2-5 Denver team, you know a real team, unlike those teams you play.

Go Bears!


December 8th, 2012
6:56 pm

Great win Panthers. Welcome Coach Miles nice to meet you today. BB team looked very bad in 1st half but got it together on D in the 2nd.


December 8th, 2012
6:57 pm

Going to be a tough year but should be a winning season in the end.


December 8th, 2012
8:32 pm

Good to hear from ya, Phil! Haven’t seen a stupid remark from you in days. I was beginning to get worried! ;) This team needs to learn how to defend against 3’s. This was a downfall last year as well, if you can recall the game against Northeastern for example. I would also like to see LaRon out there a little more. Eventually he will get more comfortable on the floor and he would provide something that we need at the post- shot blocking.


December 8th, 2012
11:33 pm

Phil, Mercer’s SOS is currently 233. Please shut up.


December 8th, 2012
11:45 pm

We need to do much better in the 1st half, there is no reason why this game should have been remotely competitive with NAIA Southern Poly… Panthers, we gotta do much better! Still, I’m thankful for the WIN.


December 8th, 2012
11:59 pm

Great win, one game at a time!


December 9th, 2012
12:11 am

Heads Up! The Mercer Bears beat a 2-5 Alabama A&M team, you know a real team, unlike those teams you play.

Go Bears!


December 9th, 2012
12:24 am

Not exactly your run of the mill NAIA team. Chase Robinson was one of several D1 transfers on Southern Poly’s roster. Duquesne transfer and Former KSU Owl Chase Robinson was unconscious drilling 6 threes playing with a broken left thumb. The Hornets hit nine 3s in the first half alone.

A near 30 point win and a week of only practice will help. Time to go 2-0 Vs Sun Belt teams.

Woody Paige

December 9th, 2012
2:12 am

NAIA teams do win these games every now and then. Heck, Reinhardt’s women beat Jacksonville State Friday night, and RU is NAIA Division II (a lot fewer scholarships). These NAIA teams are tougher to scout because stats can be harder to come by, game film isn’t as easily accessible, etc. A start like this and a finish like this for the Panthers is to be expected.


December 9th, 2012
2:40 am



December 9th, 2012
11:17 am

Phil is just your very average every day ignorant dumb bunny that thinks he can raise the visibility of his worthless team by taking whacks at other teams. Additionally the dip sheet has not even looked at our schedule to know what teams we even play except for this schedule gap filling game. Just another example of quality Mercer students and graduates.


December 10th, 2012
1:33 am

Fairly sure Phil is a troll

@ Phil

December 10th, 2012
11:50 am

You mean the same Denver team that we beat out in recruiting for David Travers, our back up PG? I hope our paths cross soon. I’m certain that CRH and the GSU cheerleaders are ready for some payback.

[...] Panther men’s basketball put together a dominant second half en route to a 28 point victory over SPSU. Next up is a road game against future conference-mates Troy University. The game is available on [...]