The first game of the season went just about as planned for the Georgia State Panthers basketball squad. They handily beat an out-manned Southern Poly team and four starters scored in double figures.
Sophomore RJ Hunter apparently does not want anything to do with a sophomore slump. An All-CAA performer and Kyle Macy’s Freshman All-American last year, Hunter was named to the preseason first team Sun Belt squad and lived up to the hype Saturday night. He dismantled the Southern Poly defense for 27 points, going 7-13 from the floor and 5-11 from three point range. He also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out four assists, and played a team-high 33 minutes.
Not to be outdone the Panthers newest point guard, Ryan Harrow, had a game to be remembered as well. Scoring 20 points and dishing out six assists in just 24 minutes, Harrow dazzled the GSU faithful and made his debut in Panther Blue special.
Southern Poly, an NAIA school in Marietta, did not go down without a fight despite the what the score says. The Hornets had three players in double figures, lead by Marcus Dortch and his 20 points. Late in the first half Southern Poly used a 17-0 run to pull within six, 39-33, but they would get no closer as the Panthers were just too much.
Devonta White contributed a solid 14 points, five assists and two steals in 27 minutes of action. While Curtis Washington tied a school record with nine blocked shots, while also scoring six points and grabbing seven rebounds. Manny Atkins added 13 points and nine rebounds in typical Atkins style, quiet yet consistent.
This marks the first time GSU has won its’ season opener under head coach Ron Hunter in his three years at the helm. The Panthers return to the court Tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern in Nashville to take on the Commodores of Vanderbilt.