USA Falls to Georgia State 73-63 On Saturday

January 6, 2014 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's, Sun Belt Conference 

Georgia State powered their way past the Jaguars 73-63 on Saturday behind R.J. Hunter’s 30 points. The Jaguars fall to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in Sun Belt play. The Panthers improve to the opposite of the Jaguars record with an overall record of 9-6 and 2-0 in Sun Belt play.

Hunter was 6-of-12 from the field overall and 5-of-9 from three point range while converting all 13 free throw attempts. He scored 21 of his 30 points in the first half.

At halftime the Jaguars trailed by only three points despite Hunter’s 21 points and the Panthers eight 3-pointers. The second half opened with a 7-0 Panther run to make the score 46-36. Later in the half, Augustine Rubit grabbed a rebound and madet he putback, then Aakim Saintil made two free throws to cut the Panther lead to eight points, but another 7-0 run gave them their largest lead of the game at 61-46.

USA answered with their own 7-0 run to cut the Panther lead to 68-61 with 2:43 left in the game, but the Panters would quickly add five points with three free throws by Hunter and a Markus Crider layup after a Jaguar miss to put the Panthers up 73-61 with 1:26 left.

“Obviously I’m disappointed in the start of conference play; 0-2 is certainly not where you want to be, but if these are the two best teams then we’re not that far off,” South Alabama head coach Matthew Graves said in his post-game comments. “I didn’t want our guys to be satisfied because they’re going to hear those are the two best teams. Well, who knows? We’re two games in and we’re trending in the wrong direction and there’s no question about that. We have to be a lot more disciplined and play with a better purpose.”

“That’s what an all-league player is supposed to do,” Graves said about R.J. Hunter’s performance for the Panthers. “He comes in and is aggressive and plays with a chip on his shoulder. I think he was excited to come here on the road and prove that he is one of the best players in the league. I don’t think there was any doubt tonight who the best player on the floor was.”

Ken Williams led the Jags with 19 points while adding seven rebounds. he scored 11 of his 19 points after halftime. Augustine Rubit was the only other Jaguar to score in double digits with 11 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double, his sixth of the season.

Mychal Ammons finished just short of a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds. Though he also added three blocked shots.

“I was really encouraged,” Graves commented on Williams’ performance. “It was nice to see Ken make some shots and hopefully this will give him confidence as we move forward. It’s always good for a shooter to see shots go in. I was really proud that he was able to step up and make some shots. It really started and I’m going to tell him this, early in the game he was attacking the basket and not settling for that ‘3’ early in the game. I liked his mindset in that regard and hopefully his shooting will continue to carry over.”

“I think both of those guys were probably a little too unselfish if you want to call it that for now,” Graves said about Rubit and Ammons. “They need to be more assertive when they get the ball. They need to go through guys and take guys up there with them. I told them I can’t remember the last time we had an ‘and-1’ finish. We drove it in three or four times tonight and they may have called the foul or may have not and we’re still missing the shot. We just have to have a more aggressive, attacking mentality when we’re going to the rim.”

South Alabama will travel to Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday. The game will get underway at 7pm.

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