Southern Miss (7-3) at Georgia State (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 18, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: CSS. Home Record: Southern Miss 3-0, Georgia State 4-2. Away Record: Southern Miss 2-3, Georgia State 1-3. Neutral Record: Southern Miss 2-0, Georgia State 0-0. Conference Record: Southern Miss 0-0, Georgia State 0-0. Series Record: Southern Miss leads 4-3.
GAMES NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers will return to GSU Sports Arena for the final time in the calendar year when they host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a non-conference clash Tuesday night.
The Golden Eagles got back in the win column after a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 93-45 rout at home against Grambling State. The win puts Southern Miss at 7-3 overall this season and improved it to 3-0 at home. On the road Southern Miss has had more middling results with a record of 2-3. Those types of efforts will need quick improvement as the Eagles are on the road in their next two games, including a tough matchup with Wichita State.
Georgia State had won consecutive games for the first time since November before dropping a 57-56 decision on the road to Troy on Saturday. James Vincent had a chance to win or tie the game in the final second but missed a pair of free throws that sealed the Panthers' fate. The loss drops the Panthers back to an even 5-5 overall this season and a dismal 1-3 in true road games. Georgia State has been more competitive at home where it has a mark of 4-2, although it has lost two of its last three. Next up for the Panthers is a road game against Rhode Island.
The last meeting between these programs took place during the 2004-05 season and ended in a 70-68 win for Georgia State. Southern Miss now holds a slim 4-3 edge in the all-time series.
There wasn't much resistance given by Grambling State against Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles got off to a 30-7 lead and never looked back. Southern Miss hit 59.6 percent of its shots from the field including a 7-of-16 from beyond the arc and forced 26 turnovers in the rout. Southern Miss held massive advantages in points in the paint (44-8) and off turnovers (34-6). Jonathan Mills and Michael Craig tied for the team lead with 17 points.
The 93 points Southern Miss scored against Grambling State was an anomaly in terms of offensive production. Despite shooting a respectable 45.2 percent from the field Southern Miss is scoring just 65.7 points per game which is 10th in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles are also 10th in the conference in rebounding (34.8 pg). Where Southern Miss has been successful is on the defensive end where it holds opponents to 58.5 points per game on 38.3 percent shooting. Lead scorer Dwayne Davis (14.1 ppg) missed his second game in the last three against Grambling State and it is unclear if he will return in this contest. Craig (11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Mills (10.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are the top scoring options if Davis is sidelined. Neil Watson (8.3 ppg, 3.4 apg) will also see increased minutes if Davis is unable to go.
Georgia State trailed by as many as 14 points but roared back in the second half against Troy and actually held a 44-42 lead after an 11-0 run midway through the stanza. The game went back and forth from there and was tied 56-56 with just over a minute remaining. The Trojans got a free throw with 33 seconds and the Panthers missed all three field goal attempts and Vincent's free throws in the final minute to succumb. Vincent (10 points, 9 rebounds) and Manny Atkins (12 points, 9 rebounds) each came a rebound shy of a double- double.
Close games are nothing new for Georgia State which has had four of its contests this season decided by two points or fewer. The Panthers' scoring margin illustrates that (-1.9) with the team netting 64.3 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting, while foes put up 66.2 points. Georgia State is also on the negative side when it comes to rebounding with a -3.4 deficit on the boards. Georgia State really relies on the 3-point shot as the Panthers have made (58) and attempted (177) the most shots from beyond the arc in the Colonial Athletic Association. A trio of players are scoring in double figures, led by Devonta White (14.9 ppg). White has also had quick hands on defense and is collecting 2.4 steals per game. R.J. Hunter (14.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is also piling up points but using a great deal of shots to do so as he hits only 37.9 percent of his attempts from the field. Atkins (13.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has been relied on to score while serving as the team's top rebounder. No other player on the team scorers more than six points per game.
With its ability to force turnovers Southern Miss will be able to key on the limited scoring options for Georgia State and slow the Panthers down on offense. Without Davis, Southern Miss will need Craig and Mills to step up offensively to pull off the road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Miss 73, Georgia State 65
12/18 10:33:09 ET