Georgia State (2-4) at FIU (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Century Bank Arena (5,000) -- Miami, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 1-0, FIU 3-0. Away Record: GSU 0-3, FIU 2-1. Neutral Record: GSU 1-1, FIU 1-2. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, FIU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 8-8.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers take aim at their first true road win of the season, as they collide with the FIU Panthers in a non-conference bout at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami on Saturday evening.
Georgia State fell to 2-4 on the season when it was defeated, 90-85, on Tuesday by Elon. The setback was the third in a row for the Panthers, who have only defeated one Division I opponent in five chances. Finding success at the offensive end has not been a problem for coach Ron Hunter's team, which is netting 81.2 points per game and converting 76.2 percent of its free-throw attempts. However, Georgia State is surrendering 79.7 points per game to the opposition, which has hit on 42.9 percent of its shots from 3-point range.
FIU had a six-game win streak snapped last Sunday with a 12-point loss to South Carolina. The Panthers are now 6-3 overall and have won all three of their home games. Coach Anthony Evans is in his first season at the helm of the program after an impressive tenure at Norfolk State, where he led the Spartans to a shocking NCAA Tournament victory over Missouri in 2012. Evans' Panthers are scoring an average of nine points per game more than their opponents, and also pull down 6.3 more rebounds per tilt.
This contest marks the 17th meeting between these two schools. Both sides have won eight games. As the Panthers joined the Sun Belt Conference this season, FIU departed for Conference USA.
Although GSU is not very deep, it has four players carrying double-digit scoring averages to Miami and Devonta White is contributing 9.2 ppg. Ryan Harrow has been unstoppable on the interior as he has connected on 52.4 percent of its shots from inside the 3-point line en route to a team-best 20 ppg. R.J. Hunter is averaging 15.3 ppg while Curtis Washington has anchored the paint with 10.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per tilt. Manny Atkins is adding 10.3 ppg with 11 of his 18 made field goals coming from beyond the arc. As a team, GSU has handed out 79 assists against only 57 turnovers.
FIU has a pair of reliable scorers and rebounders in Tymell Murphy and Rakeem Buckles. Murphy has paced the team through its first nine games with 15.6 ppg, and he grabs 8.7 rpg as well. Buckles is posting similar numbers with 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest. Raymond Taylor and Jerome Frink are also scoring in double figures with regularity. Evans has started Florida Atlantic transfer Dennis Mavin in all nine games, but the redshirt junior guard has not transitioned into the lineup smoothly as he is shooting a team-low 34.7 percent from the floor among players with 20 or more attempts, and he leads the squad with 21 turnovers.
GSU's poor record is partially a product of a very challenging schedule. It was very competitive in its four losses, as only Alabama defeated Hunter's team by more than eight points. FIU's wins came over weak opponents, although it did perform well in setbacks at Youngstown State and South Carolina. This one could go either way, as GSU could steal one on the road if it manages to get Harrow enough touches. FIU could counter much of the damage Harrow does against the visitor's weak perimeter defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: FIU 77, Georgia State 75
11/30 10:33:50 ET