Georgia State hammers Arkansas State

Ron Hunter kept trying to steer the interviews back to his players after Georgia State held Arkansas State to 10 field goals in the Panthers’ 74-43 win Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena. But it was obvious that he was upset with something.

A game that was highlighted by Markus Crider’s 14 points and 11 rebounds and Ryan Harrow reaching 1,000 points in his Georgia State career, was marred by an officiating crew that seemed to lose control of the game in the first four minutes of the second half. Thirteen fouls were called in that span, nine against Georgia State. Thirty fouls were called in the game.

“So I don’t get fined and get kicked out and not coach again I have to be careful what I say,” Hunter said. “In 26 years in basketball I don’t know if I’ve ever been as frustrated as this year. I’m extremely frustrated. I can’t get into why. People know why. But I’m extremely, extremely frustrated.”

Tempers finally erupted when Harrow was called for a technical, while playing defense, with 15:41 left. It was Harrow’s seventh technical foul this season. Harrow went to the bench, returned and quickly scored nine more points to finish with 21 on 8-of-11 shooting.

Harrow was forced to miss the game at Arkansas State earlier this season because he was suspended for one game following his sixth technical foul.

Hunter said he wasn’t clear why Saturday’s technical was called. He assumed it was something Harrow said, but he noted that both players were talking to each other. Crider said he didn’t know what the technical was for, either.

A few minutes later, Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb could be seen giving a thumb’s down in the direction of the officials. Cobb said he was motioning to someone across the court.

Cobb said there is no automatic suspension forthcoming after Harrow’s technical. Should the Sun Belt decide to punish Harrow, it could mean he misses Thursday’s showdown with Georgia Southern in Statesboro. The Eagles entered Saturday with a one-half game lead over the Panthers (15-7, 8-3) in the Sun Belt.

The technical foul was preceded by a hard foul by P.J. Hardwick on R.J. Hunter on a layup with 18:30 left. Harrow jumped to Hunter’s defense, with Crider jumping in front of Harrow to try to calm him down before a technical could be called.

“When stuff like that happens, I feel like I’m the mediator,” Crider said. “I know Ryan. He’s my roommate. We spend almost 24 hours a day together. I know how to control him on the court.”

Arkansas State, playing its fifth game in 11 days, started by missing seven of its first eight shots with six turnovers in the game’s first 8 1/2 minutes. By then, the Panthers led 12-3 and were never pushed by the Red Wolves (9-12, 4-8).

A few minutes later came Harrow’s historic moment on a dunk with 5:57 left in the first half. It was his sixth point in the game and the 1,001st in his short career at Georgia State. Harrow transferred from Kentucky before the 2013-14 season. Harrow reached 1,000 points in 54 games, the second-quickest pace in program history.

“That’s an impressive thing, getting 1,000 points in less than two years,” Ron Hunter said. “That’s hard to do.”