Rochester, MI – Generally regarded as an NBA first round draft choice next June, 6’6″ junior wing guard R.J. Hunter scored 29 points on only 14 field goal attempts as Georgia State completed a 3 day CBE Hall of Fame Classic round robin sweep by defeating host Oakland University 83-78. In the preceding two days, the Panthers beat Chicago St. 69-46 and Western Carolina 85-70.
Georgia State led by as many as 13 in the second half before Oakland cut the lead late to three when the Panthers threw over the top of the press to a streaking Hunter for a layup to ice the game with 19 seconds left. The Panthers shot 63 percent from the floor and an even better 64.7 percent from the arc in improving their season mark to 4-2 and dropping the Golden Grizzlies to 1-5.
Hunter, who is now averaging 22.2 ppg., started his impressively economical night by hitting his first three shots ,all triples, in the first 4:21 of play. He finished the half with 19 points on 7-of-9 from the floor- including 4-of-6 on threes as the Panthers built a 47-38 lead.
While slowing down a bit in the 2nd half, the wiry Reggie Miller play-alike still managed 10 more points on 2-of-5 shooting and 5-of-5 from the FT line. Hunter also managed five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block to round out his versatile performance.
In addition to the impressive economy in scoring his 29 points, what was particularly striking was how little time and space Hunter needed to get off his shots and move into areas for feeds to teammates. Hunter’s release is as quick as anyone playing the game. Besides the game clinching layup, he hit six triples and two pull up jumpers- one an old school 18’ bank. On every shot, the defender was right there and Hunter had to make a contested shot.
While he is extremely aggressive at the offensive end, he is a willing passer and shows a nice balance of trying to create for himself and waiting for the next opportunity. He plays off the ball most of the time and moves very wisely without the ball. Since he’s game planned so much, he has developed a lot of little tricks to get open-especially changes of pace- a tactic usually used by a ball handler. Of minor concern are Hunter’s slight body (listed at 190 lbs.) and the fact that his father Ron Hunter’s coached team plays a lot of match-up zone defense,
Hunter is able to play his natural wing position off the ball because of the strength of the Panthers’ other two guards- 6-2 senior Ryan Harrow, averaging 20 points himself and very adept off the bounce and Louisville transfer, 6-2 junior Kevin Ware, of nationally televised injury notoriety. Ware and Harrow respectively had 15 and 14 points. Harrow also had 11 assists and only three turnovers while Ware had two late game steals. 6’6″ junior forward Markus Crider rounded out the double figure scorers with 17 points on 6-of-7 FG’s.
Oakland had four players in double figures, led by21 points from the appropriately named 6’6″ junior transfer from St. John’s Max Hooper on 7-of-17 (all treys), 18 from 5’9″ soph PG Kahlil Felder and 14 each from seniors, 6’6″ Dante Williams and 6’10” center Corey Petros. Tommie McCune, who had a career high 27 pts last week, finished with 9.
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