Georgia State (16-6) at Arkansas-Little Rock (12-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 9-0, UALR 6-2. Away Record: GSU 6-5, UALR 5-7. Neutral Record: GSU 1-1, UALR 1-1. Conference Record: GSU 9-0, UALR 7-3. Series Record: Arkansas-Little Rock leads, 16-2.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers put their perfect record in league play on the line, as they take on the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans in a pivotal Sun Belt Conference battle at the Jack Stephens Center on Thursday night.
Georgia State has been one of the hottest teams in the country over the last two months, ripping off 13 straight victories, including triumphs in each of its nine conference bouts. The Panthers also own the best overall record in the Sun Belt (16-6). They will be back in action next Thursday against Texas State.
UALR has been picking up steam with wins in three of its last four outings. Although them Trojans do not own as impressive an overall record as the Panthers (12-10), they are in the thick of the Sun Belt title chase, currently sitting third (7-3). They will battle Western Kentucky in another crucial matchup next time out.
The Panthers would certainly like a repeat of the outcome in their first encounter with UALR this season. Georgia State rolled to a 99-73 victory at home in that matchup, earning just its second win in 18 all-time meetings with the Trojans.
R.J. Hunter scored 24 points to lead three players with at least 20 points in Georgia State's most recent win, an 85-65 rout of South Alabama on Monday. The Panthers connected on 63 percent of their shots from the floor, including 10- of-17 from 3-point range, in the victory.
Led by Hunter (20.2 ppg) and Ryan Harrow (18.1 ppg, 4.6 apg), who are ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the Sun Belt in scoring, the Panthers have been lighting up the scoreboard with regularity this season. They are second in the conference in scoring (79.8 ppg), while leading the pack in field goal percentage (.476). Harrow is also tied for second in the league in assists with teammate Devonta White (10.9 ppg, 4.9 apg), who lends a hand in the scoring department as well. Manny Atkins (13.6 ppg, 5.9 pg) leads the way on the interior. Atkins scored 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting against South Alabama.
Will Neighbour recorded 23 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to power UALR to a 62-58 victory against South Alabama last Saturday. The Trojans only connected on 37 percent of their shots from the floor, but they scored 20 points off turnovers and outscored the Jaguars at the free-throw line, 19-9.
Neighbour (17.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is by far the most important player for the Trojans, as he leads the team by a wide margin in both scoring and rebounding. He is finishing off better than 50 percent of his shots from the floor and has registered six double-doubles. Neighbour doesn't get a ton of support from the rest of the roster, with Josh Hagins (11.4 ppg) and James White (11.4 ppg) the only other players netting more than seven ppg. However, White has missed the last four games with a sprained ankle. He is listed as questionable for Thursday's game.
If the Trojans hope to upset the Panthers, they need to be at full strength. With White's status uncertain, UALR won't have enough to contend with Georgia State and its litany of scoring options.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 78, Arkansas-Little Rock 70
02/06 20:18:39 ET