Georgia State (22-7) at Arkansas State (17-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 4, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,038) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 12-0, ASU 10-2. Away Record: GSU 9-6, ASU 7-8. Neutral Record: GSU 1-1, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 15-1, ASU 9-6. Series Record: Georgia State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: With the Sun Belt Conference regular-season title already wrapped up, the Georgia State Panthers now focus their efforts on taking down the Arkansas State Red Wolves in Jonesboro tonight.
Georgia State, which came over from the Colonial Athletic Association prior to this season, has won all but one of its 16 Sun Belt outings. Since that lone setback at Troy on Feb. 15 by a score of 85-81, GSU has won five straight decisions, including a 66-55 final versus Texas State on the road this past Saturday.
As for the Red Wolves, they are slated to play three games in five days to close out the regular season. Following this meeting with the Panthers, ASU battles both ULM and Louisiana at home before the start of the conference tournament. The team was pitted against Arkansas-Little Rock over the weekend and came up short in a 74-67 final on the road, snapping a three-game win streak in the process.
The teams played in Atlanta in the middle of January, with the hosts coming away with the narrow 73-72 decision, which means the all-time series is 2-1 in favor of the Panthers.
The Panthers got off to a rough start against Texas State over the weekend, shooting just 27.6 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes, but then turned it all around with a staggering 72.2 percent accuracy following the break. Except for Markus Crider who finished with just two points, every starter scored in double figures for GSU, beginning with R.J. Hunter with 18 points, to go along with eight rebounds and four steals. Ryan Harrow posted 14 points and both Manny Atkins and Devonta White 13 points and five boards.
The Panthers have had a different leading scorer in each of the last three outings, which says more about their flexibility and balance than anything else. Overall, Hunter is the top man in the scoring department with 18.8 ppg, thanks to his 90 3-pointers, while Harrow contributes another 17.1 ppg and is first with 131 assists, against just 48 turnovers. One of the more well- rounded performers in the league, Atkins (14.3 ppg) is not only shooting 46.4 percent beyond the arc, he is also first on the glass with 6.0 rpg through 29 starts.
Shooting only 34.6 percent from the field in the second half of their meeting with UALR on the road, not to mention converting just 1-of-13 behind the 3- point line over the final 20 minutes of action, the Red Wolves didn't given themselves much of a chance at a win at the Jack Stephens Center. Kendrick Washington was the lone starter to score in double figures with 11 points, trailing reserves Cameron Golden and Brandon Reed who delivered 15 and 13 points, respectively.
One of the starters who struggled the last time out, Kirk Van Slyke is still the overall leading scorer for Arkansas State with his 15.5 ppg, not to mention matching Washington (10.0 ppg) on the glass with 6.0 rpg, but the program is still coming up short in the rebounding department by 1.6 per contest. Melvin Johnson III steps up with another 14.5 ppg as he makes good on an impressive 47.9 percent beyond the arc.
Now that the regular-season title has been captured, the Panthers might take their foot off the gas in the final week, but that doesn't mean ASU will be able to come out ahead tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 71, Arkansas State 63
03/04 10:33:50 ET