Georgia State (13-14) at George Mason (15-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Patriot Center (10,000) -- Fairfax, Virginia. Television: CSN-PHI, MA, CHI, NW. Home Record: GSU 8-6, GMU 6-4. Away Record: GSU 4-8, GMU 6-4. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, GMU 3-2. Conference Record: GSU 7-6, GMU 8-5. Series Record: George Mason leads, 10-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams packed in tight in the middle of the Colonial Athletic Association standings do battle on Saturday afternoon, as the Georgia State Panthers pay a visit to the Patriots of George Mason.
Georgia State begins a three-game road stretch this afternoon. The Panthers are coming off a 61-43 triumph over Hofstra on Wednesday. Manny Atkins finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, while James Vincent and Devonta White added 11 points apiece for Georgia State, winners in seven of its last 10 games.
R.J. Hunter, the son of head coach Ron Hunter, is averaging a team-high 17.1 points per game for the Panthers. Hunter is one of five freshmen nationally to be averaging at least 17 points and five rebounds per game. White (14.5) and Atkins (14.3) are also in double figures in scoring. Atkins (6.2 rpg) leads the team in rebounding. The duo are among the top four in the conference in 3- point shooting, which helps the Panthers to their 36.1 percent clip from long distance. That's the second-best mark in the CAA, behind only Northeastern. The problem for the Panthers has been defending the 3-point line. They're giving up 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is the second-worst mark in the CAA. Additionally, Georgia State has the worst rebounding margin in the conference (-2.4). James Vincent leads the league in blocked shots (2.5 bpg).
The Patriots have won three of their last four games, including a 68-62 comeback triumph at Drexel on Thursday. George Mason overcame 10 first-half turnovers and did not turn the ball over in the final 12-plus minutes. Vertrail Vaughns scored 14 points, leading four players in double figures. Erik Copes added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Patriots, followed by Sherrod Wright and Corey Edwards with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Wright, who averages 17.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, is the only player on the roster in double-figure scoring. There's a sharp drop-off to Jonathan Arledge (7.2) and Johnny Williams (7.0). Copes (5.4 rpg) paces the team on the glass.
What's rallied the Patriots of late has been their lock-down defense in the final five minutes of games. They're limiting opponents to a 37.1 percent shooting mark. During that span, GMU is shooting 48.6 percent.
Statistically, these two teams seem evenly-matched, although the Patriots have the second-rated defense in the CAA by allowing only 63.5 ppg. The Panthers are giving up 66.2 ppg. George Mason has won five straight against Georgia State, which will move to the Sun Belt Conference next year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: George Mason 69, Georgia State 64
02/16 10:43:55 ET