FACTS & STATS: Site: Hanner Fieldhouse (4,378) -- Statesboro, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Georgia State 4-3, Georgia Southern 2-1. Away Record: Georgia State 1-4, Georgia Southern 2-5. Neutral Record: Georgia State 0-0, Georgia Southern 1-1. Conference Record: Georgia State 0-0, Georgia Southern 0-2. Series Record: Georgia Southern leads, 31-13.
GAME NOTES: A couple of Georgia-based programs with identical records get together at Hanner Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, as the Georgia State Panthers drop in on the Georgia Southern Eagles in non-conference action.
With Colonial Athletic Association play just around the corner, the Panthers are trying to snap a three-game slide this weekend after losing to Rhode Island on the road, 65-60, last Saturday.
As for the Eagles, they suffered their most lopsided defeat since the season opener against Valparaiso (85-54) when they bowed to North Florida two days before Christmas, 74-46. The loss was the second in the last three outings for a program which competes in the Southern Conference and is already 0-2 in such matchups.
Georgia Southern owns a 31-13 lead in the all-time series, although the Panthers have won four of the last five encounters. The most recent decision last December, 72-52, went in favor of Georgia State at home.
Now two games under .500, the Panthers have lost their last three outings by a combined eight points, even with R.J. Hunter delivering 23 points versus Rhode Island in the most recent contest. Devonta White and Manny Atkins both tallied 14 points, the latter clearing a team-best nine rebounds and accounting for all but one of the unit's five offensive boards along the way. Playing close to 33 minutes per game, Hunter has made the most 3-pointers (26) of anyone on the team and that's why he leads the program with 15.6 ppg. White (14.7 ppg) and Atkins (13.2 ppg) have combined with Hunter to generate 63 of the team's 72 made 3-pointers and 82 of their 129 assists which indicates that the threesome is almost always involved in the action at the offensive end of the floor.
On the road in Las Vegas and playing in Orleans Arena, the Eagles were completely overmatched by North Florida, Georgia Southern scoring just 19 points in the first half and shooting a season-low 31.5 percent from the floor for the entire game and 1-of-6 beyond the arc. Tre Bussey tallied 12 points and six rebounds and Eric Ferguson responded with 10 points as he reached 1,000 points for his career, but by no means was it enough as the Eagles allowed the opposition to make good on 12-of-24 on the perimeter. Allowing North Florida to shoot 53.6 percent from the field means the team's run of limiting four straight opponents to less than 40 percent from the floor came to an end. Ferguson paces the program in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg) at the moment, not to mention leading the group with 10 steals and 10 blocked shots, but at the same time he has more turnovers (36) than anyone else on the unit too.
With several close calls of late, it is only a matter of time before the Panthers get back on the winning track, and that time should be this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 67, Georgia Southern 61
12/29 10:42:50 ET
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