Hunter scores 38 to lift GSU to win over ODU

R.J. Hunter hit 3-pointers from the corners. He hit 3-pointers from the wings. He even hit a fade-away 3-pointer.

By the time he was done, Hunter hit 10 3-pointers, leaving to a standing ovation and a hug from dad and coach after scoring a career-, life- and conference-high 38 points to lead Georgia State to an 83-63 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday.

Hunter’s 3-pointers broke the previous mark of nine set most recently by Thomas Terrell in 2001. Hunter’s 38 is the seventh-most points in school history, tying the mark set most recently by Anton Reese in 1998. It also tied for the most 3-pointers in Colonial Athletic Association history and is the most points scored in the conference this season.

“The basket was big tonight,” R.J. Hunter said. He hit 12 of his 18 attempts, including 10 of 15 3-pointers.

After tying what was then his career high with 27 points in Wednesday’s win over first-place Northeastern, Hunter all but solidified his first CAA player of the week award, to go along with the five freshman of the week awards he’s already earned. He also helped the Panthers (12-12, 7-4), who have won six of seven, stay within striking distance of what would be an odd first-place finish in the Colonial Athletic Association. Georgia State, which has never won the conference, is ineligible to play in the conference tournament because it is joining the Sun Belt next year.

“I haven’t felt that good since high school,” Hunter said, prompting Ron Hunter to answer, “That was just a few months ago.”

R.J. Hunter may have had a feeling something special was in store. Former player Josh Michaeux said that R.J. told him on Friday that was going to put on a show.

Hunter started with a 3-pointer with 3:30 into the game. During a five-minute stretch in the second half, he scored 19 consecutive points for Georgia State to turn a 14-point lead into 21-point lead. His last 3-pointer came on a fade-away over a defender to reach 36 points.

"I was going to shoot that whatever he said," R.J. said. After that basket, Hunter, who said he never hears the crowd, could hear their chants of "MVP."

He finished his binge with a dunk with 3:44 left before his dad took him out to the ovation.

Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said they were aware that Hunter came into the game hot, but he said his team’s defense broke down in allowing kick-out passes to Hunter for the 3-pointers.

“He played all night long, they played all night long, and they gave him the ball all night long,” Taylor said.

Hunter wasn’t the only player that was hot for Georgia State.

Georgia State started both halves as they were playing a pop-a-shot game, totalling nine 3-pointers in the first six minutes of each half.

The Monarchs stayed in the game in the first half by outrebounding the Panthers 21-13, including pulling down nine offensive rebounds to stay within five at the half.

But the Panthers hit four 3-pointers, including two by R.J. Hunter, to extend the lead to 47-33 in the first four minutes of the second half.

“I’ve seen him do some special things,” Ron Hunter said. “When he gets on a roll he’s incredible that way.”

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