TOWSON, Md. - Junior forward Jerrelle Benimon led four Tigers in double figures with 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but a pair of very long three-point field goals by Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter in the final minutes led the Panthers to a 71-69 victory at the Towson Center on Monday night.
Hunter finished the game with a career-high 27 points to lead Georgia State (9-11, 4-3 CAA) to its second win in three days. The Panthers shot 11-for-22 from three-point range to pull out the win. Hunter led the way by making four of nine three-pointers while junior guard Rashaad Richardson connected on three of four three-point attempts.
Benimon had another outstanding performance for Towson (10-10, 5-2 CAA) as he posted his national-leading 14th double-double of the season. Benimon scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also shot 7-for-11 from the floor and added two steals and two assists.
In a game that featured nine lead changes and 14 ties, the Panthers rallied from a 64-60 deficit in the final 4:09. A three-pointer by Hunter cut the Panthers’ deficit to 64-63 and started the comeback. Junior guard Devonta White hit a pair of free throws with 3:29 remaining for a 65-64 lead.
With 2:41 left and the shot clock winding down, Hunter hit an off-balance three-pointer from 25 feet away to put the Panthers ahead, 68-64.
Towson center Bilal Dixon halted the Georgia State run with a three-point play that pulled the Tigers to within 68-67 before Hunter hit another nearly-impossible three-pointer from 25 feet to give Georgia State a 71-67 lead.
With 46 seconds left, freshman guard Jerome Hairston pulled the Tigers to within 71-69 when he nailed a 15-footer. The Tigers had one last chance to tie after Hunter missed a shot on the other end. However, Hunter blocked a three-point attempt by junior Marcus Damas with one second remaining to give the Panthers the win.
The Panthers, who matched their seasonal high with 11 three-point baskets, also shot eight-for-nine from the free throw line.
Hairston scored a career-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds and a career-high tying five assists for the Tigers, who came into the game with six victories in their last seven outings.
Junior guard Mike Burwell added 14 points and Damas scored 11 points for Towson, which dropped its first game this season when four or more players score in double figures.
The Tigers will try to get back on the winning track when they host George Mason University on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Mid-Athletic Sports Network (MASN).