Louisiana Tech (6-1) at Georgia State (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 3-0, GSU 3-1. Away Record: LaTech 1-1, GSU 0-2. Neutral Record: LaTech 2-0, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: LaTech 0-0, GSU 0-0. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter takes aim at his 300th career win on Friday, as his Panthers entertain the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in non- conference action at the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta.
Hunter, who is now in his second season with the Panthers, spent 17 years at IUPUI where he compiled a record of 274-219 and has this year's GSU squad off to a 3-3 mark. The team had won three straight against the likes of Monmouth, Tennessee State and South Alabama in a span of three days as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, but then earlier this week it ran out of luck as it was halted in a 62-53 setback versus East Carolina.
As for the Bulldogs, since opening the campaign with a 71-59 loss to Texas A&M, the squad has rattled off six consecutive victories, the most recent of which being a 99-62 thumping of Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday at home. The point total for LaTech was the highest for the program since it delivered 102 points against Centenary in double-overtime three years ago.
While coach Hunter is shooting for a monumental win in this meeting, it must be noted that GSU has never beaten the Bulldogs, losing all four previous encounters. The most recent of those matchups took place in 2011 with LaTech securing a 51-45 victory. The Bulldogs also claimed a 74-71 victory the last time the teams met in Atlanta back in 1994.
Raheem Appleby continued his strong play for the Bulldogs as he tallied 22 points in the 37-point victory over Southeastern Louisiana a few nights back. Cordarius Johnson chipped in with 15 points and Michale Kyser 10 to go along with six rebounds and four blocked shots in limited action. LaTech led by just two points at the break, but then erupted for a staggering 24-of-32 (.750) shooting from the floor in the second half to easily cruise to the win. Defensively the team held the Lions to just 37.7 percent from the floor and forced 24 turnovers. The leading scorer for the Bulldogs in four of their games thus far, Appleby is responsible for 19.0 ppg for a group that is outscoring the competition by more than 13 ppg, although much of that has to do with the beating it inflicted on the last opponent. Johnson checks in with another 14.7 ppg and stands as the primary go-to guy on the perimeter who has knocked down 17 of the unit's 50 three-point baskets.
The Panthers had their hands full going up against an undefeated East Carolina squad on Monday and even though GSU forced 16 turnovers and held the Pirates to just 36.4 percent shooting from the floor, it still wasn't good enough. Manny Atkins led Georgia State with 15 points and eight boards, followed by Devonta White who tallied another 13 points for a squad that trailed by double digits at the half and ended up shooting a mere 4-of-18 behind the three-point line in the contest. The other issue with the Panthers was that they were dominated on the glass, 47-26. Playing 37 minutes per game, White leads the program in scoring with his 15.0 ppg and is also tops in assists with 17 through six games, but at the same time has been tagged for 24 turnovers. Miscues have been a problem for GSU with the team averaging more than 14 per contest, compared to less than 10 assists per outing.
Coming out on the short end in the rebounding category is something that could doom the Panthers every time they take the floor. Add to that the number of turnovers they suffer and the hosts could be in for a rude awakening on Friday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 79, Georgia State 64
11/30 10:40:09 ET