South Alabama (2-2) at Georgia State (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (8,600) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: South Alabama 1-0, Georgia State 2-0. Away Record: South Alabama 1-0, Georgia State 0-2. Neutral Record: South Alabama 0-2, Georgia State 0-0. Conference Record: South Alabama 0-0, Georgia State 0-0. Series Record: South Alabama leads 13-4.
GAME NOTES: Riding high off an exhilarating victory, the Georgia State Panthers will wrap up the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at GSU Sports Arena by hosting the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday afternoon.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is South Alabama which let a one-point lead with less than three seconds slip away in its 73-71 loss to Monmouth on Tuesday. The loss was the second straight for the Jaguars who won consecutive games to open the season, including a stunning 76-71 upset of Florida State. South Alabama continues on the road in its next two games against Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
When Rashaad Richardson's halfcourt shot fell threw as time expired on Tuesday night it lifted Georgia State to an improbably 59-57 victory over Tennessee State. The win was the second straight for the Panthers who took road losses to Duke and BYU before taking on hosting duties this week. Georgia State won't play another road game until Dec. 2, with its next two contests also at GSU Sports Arena.
In 17 previous meetings, South Alabama has dominated with 13 wins, including victories in seven of the last eight. Georgia State did win (88-56) the last time the teams squared off at GSU Sports Arena.
When Augustine Rubit hit a pair of free throw to put South Alabama ahead 71-70 with less than six seconds remaining it looked like the Jaguars were going to escape against Monmouth. It was not to be though as Monmouth's Jesse Steele was fouled on a 3-point attempt on the next possession and calmly hit his free throws. The loss wasted a strong night from Rubit who had a double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds, while also blocking five shots.
South Alabama has the luxury of four different double-figure scorers on the roster. Rubit is the top option (18.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg) and an absolute force in the paint with his ability to rebounds and block shots. Mychal Ammons (14.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is listed as a guard but at 6-foot-6 has the length to get inside and score on taller defenders while also aggressively attacking the glass. Xavier Robertson (13.0 ppg) and Antoine Allen (10.0 ppg) provide a shooting spark off the bench with each knocking down better than 47 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
In a game that featured six ties and 19 lead changes it was the final lead change that was the most dramatic for Georgia State. The Tigers trailed by a point after allowing Tennessee State's Deshawn Dockery to drive in for a layup with less than two seconds left in the game. But with Richardson's halfcourt shot the Panthers were able to survive. In the win the Panthers overcame a 37-27 deficit on the boards by shooting at a 43.8 percent rate from the floor, while outscoring the Tigers 11-3 from the free throw line.
Even with the win the weak scoring and rebounding of the Panthers was still evident. On the season the Panthers are netting just 59.5 points per game while suffering from a -6 differential on the glass. Devonta White (17.0 ppg) is the lead scorer on the team and a player that head coach Ron Hunter really leans on. The junior guard has averaged 47.8 minutes per game through the first four games. R.J. Hunter (11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Manny Atkins (8.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are each playing more than 30 minutes per game.
The potential for South Alabama is there, as it already knocked off a top flight program in Florida State. Rubit is a player that can dominate and take over a game especially against teams without much up front. Unfortunately for Georgia State it is such a team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 67, Georgia State 61
11/21 10:37:19 ET