­ATLANTA—For the first time in school history, Georgia State will host the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, beginning Monday at the GSU Sports Arena. After opening the season with a pair of road games, it will also mark the Panthers home opener and the first of five straight at home.

Georgia State (0-2) will welcome Monmouth (1-2), South Alabama (2-0) and Tennessee State (0-3) as the squads play six games in three days. The action begins Monday with South Alabama facing Tennessee State at 4 p.m., followed by GSU hosting Monmouth at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, Monmouth and South Alabama will take to the court at 4 p.m., followed by Georgia State welcoming former Panther Travis Williams and his Tennessee State squad at 7 p.m. The tournament will conclude on Wednesday as Monmouth faces Tennessee State at noon, followed by Georgia State against future Sun Belt foe South Alabama at 3 p.m.

All of Georgia State’s games can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning with the Panther Pregame Show 30 minutes prior to tip. Live stats and live video of all of the games will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com

A pre-game event for PAC donors of the $100 level and higher is also set for Monday starting an hour before the Panthers tip. Donors can meet, network and enjoy food and beverages in the PAC Lounge on the third floor of the GSU Sports Arena. To register, please call 404-413-4144.

Georgia State opened the season facing arguably its two biggest challenges of the year, at No. 8 Duke and at BYU, ranked 13th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

The team will now spend the next two weeks at home beginning with the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.     

“My team and I are proud to be participating in such a prestigious event,” commented head coach Ron Hunter. “Cancer has affected everyone in someway and the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, along with the NABC have done a great job raising money for the American Cancer Society.

“We are welcoming three very good teams to the Sports Arena. Each one of them brings a different challenge. After playing in two of the toughest environments in the country, it will be good to be home knowing that our fans are making the GSU Sports Arena one of the toughest places in the country to play as well.”

Junior Devonta White, who earned Preseason All-CAA Second Team honors, leads the team in scoring (16.5 ppg) and minutes (37.0) after two games. One of three team captains, White is also averaging 3.0 steals per game and shooting 88.9 percent from the free throw line.

Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins, who is in his first year playing for the Panthers after transferring from Virginia Tech, led the Panthers with 21 points and eight rebounds against BYU. Atkins is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and playing 34.5 minutes per game.

Freshman R.J. Hunter, the only son of head coach Ron Hunter, is also scoring 13.0 points per game, while collecting 8.5 rebounds per contest. He was named CAA Rookie of the Week last week after earning a double-double in the season opener at Duke. He is shooting 92.3 percent from the free throw line, helping the Panthers to a 78.1 percent mark at the charity stripe.

Junior Denny Burguillos, a junior-college transfer from Casper (Wyo.) College has made a pair of starts for the Panthers, averaging 17.5 minutes in two games. He scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds at BYU. He is shooting 57.1 percent from the floor, second best on the team.

Georgia State proved last year that losing the opening game or two of the season does not mean a losing season is ahead. GSU began last season 0-3 before rolling off an 11-game winning streak en route to a 22-victory season, second most in school history and only behind the 29 wins of the 2000-01 team of head coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell.

Monmouth, Georgia State’s Monday opponent, opened the season with an impressive 91-62 victory over GSU’s CAA foe Hofstra. The Hawks followed with an 84-57 loss to No. 20 Notre Dame. They are led by Andrew Nicholas who averages nearly 20 points per game.

Tennessee State, who Georgia State will play on Tuesday, has had arguably the toughest schedule of the three teams with losses at BYU, South Dakota State and Minnesota. Robert Covington leads the Tigers with 14.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while Kellen Thornton is averaging 13.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.

Georgia State will conclude the event facing future Sun Belt foe South Alabama. The Jaguars opened the season with an impressive 76-71 victory over No. 25 Florida State. The Jaguars have four players averaging in double figures, led by Augustine Rubit’s 16 points and five rebounds per game. In two contests, Mychal Ammons is averaging a double-double of 15.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per contest.

The Acura Coaches vs. Cancer Classic is one of the most prestigious early-season college basketball tournaments. Twelve teams will compete in the event with four of them serving as regional hosts. Regional Round action takes place from Nov. 9-13 with the four hosts advancing to the Championship Rounds, Nov. 16-17, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The remainder of the field will participate in a round-robin series at one of two sub-host sites. 

The Coaches vs. Cancer program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The program leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs. Since 1993 the initiative has raised more than $85 million dollars to fund groundbreaking research, provide up-to-date cancer literacy, advocate for public health policies and deliver services to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. 

Following the three-day event, Georgia State will host East Carolina on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, please visit GeorgiaStateSports.com or call 1-866-GA-STATE.

www.GeorgiaStateSports.com