ATLANTA—Georgia State will play its second straight road game to open the season traveling to Provo, Utah to face BYU in the opening game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Tuesday night. It will mark the Panthers longest road trip of the year and first time participating in the event.
The game can be seen live on BYUtv, which is both online and on DirectTV Channel 374. It can also be seen on U-verse channel 1567 or 567 on non-HD.
It can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning with the Panther Pregame Show at 8:30 p.m. Live stats will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com
Georgia State (0-1) opened the season with a 74-55 loss to No. 8 Duke on Friday, while BYU (1-0) began the season with an 81-66 victory against Tennessee State. The Cougars are ranked 13th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
“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.
“BYU is a very good team and the Marriott Center is one of the toughest places in the country to play. I wanted to challenge my team early in the season and I think our first two games will definitely do that.”
Despite the opening season loss, the Panthers took many positives out of Friday night’s opener with the Blue Devils. Junior Devonta White, who earned Preseason All-CAA Second Team honors, led Georgia State with 19 points while senior James Vincent came off the bench with eight points and five rebounds.
Freshman R.J. Hunter, the only son of head coach Ron Hunter, made his collegiate debut with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter averaged 26.0 points, six rebounds and four assists in Georgia State’s two exhibition contests. He shot 57.1 percent from the floor, 53.3 percent from three-point range and 80.0 percent from the free throw line.
“As his dad, he still gets his allowance. As a coach, he still has some work to do,” Ron Hunter joked after the game. “I know coaches are not supposed to say this, but as a father, I was really proud. I never coached him in T-ball or anything, so for a minute, as a dad, I was really, really proud.”
Redshirt-sophomore Cameron Solomon made his Panther debut against Duke, coming off the bench to play 16 minutes and score five points. Solomon spent his freshman season at High Point before getting injured early in the year and received a redshirt. He spent the 2011-12 season at Brevard Community College. He led the metro Atlanta area in scoring his senior year of high school, averaging more than 25 points per game.
Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins also made his Georgia State debut against Duke. After sitting out the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules, the former Virginia Tech reserve played 33 minutes and scored five points against Duke.
Georgia State proved last year that losing the opening game 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.
Hunter’s 2011-12 squad was built around strong defense, ranking in the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense (58.9), field goal defense (38.0%), steals (9.3) and blocked shots (5.4). This year’s squad will miss Eric Buckner’s defensive presence in the middle but is expected to feature more scoring ability as last year’s squad was in the bottom half of the NCAA in scoring. Buckner finished fifth in the nation in blocked shots.
BYU was led by Tyler Haws in the opener against Tennessee State, scoring 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting, hitting 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Brandon Davies added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting while pulling down seven rebounds.
The Acura Coaches vs. Cancer Classic (www.cvcclassic.com) 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 (www.coachesvscancer.org) is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (www.NABC.org) 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 Panthers trip to Provo, Georgia State will return to Atlanta to prepare to host Monmouth, South Alabama and Tennessee in the Sports Arena, Nov. 19-21. The four squads will play six games over three days. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please visit GeorgiaStateSports.com or call 1-866-GA-STATE.