PANTHERS TAKE 4-GAME WINNING STREAK TO NASHVILLE
Georgia State will be looking to build on its four-game winning streak since a loss on the road at the SEC's Florida back on Nov. 11. The up-tempo, high-scoring Panthers have averaged 70.2 points on the season.
GSU has been idle for 11 days since a Dec. 2 win over Kennesaw State. Belmont comes in with a two-game winning streak, stopping 6-2 Indiana in an upset win in Nashville and thumping neighborhood rival, Lipscomb.
The visiting Panthers will also be trying to do something they've never done before: win in the Curb Event Center. GSU is 0-5 in that facility, coming close several times in a two-point loss and a three-point loss, but never getting the win. After those two and three-point losses, GSU rebounded to defeat Belmont by 22 points and 31 points in Atlanta. The two former Atlantic Sun rivals often were 1-2 in that league when they were competing eight times from 2001-02 through 2004-05. Those 8 league matches ended up 4-4. The teams had previously played once each in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
If one wants to know why GSU is winning, just look at the national NCAA rankings and one will see the impact the Panthers' aggressiveness is having:
- No. 3 in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense (.160)
- No. 8 in the NCAA in all field goal defense (.311)
- No. 22 in the NCAA in blocked shots per game (5.7)
- No. 52 in the NCAA in rebound margin (+7.2)
- No. 91 in the NCAA in steals per game (10.5)
The offense then follows the defensive efforts by averaging 70.2 points per game, ranking No. 60 among the NCAA's 345 Division I universities. The Panthers shoot at a 43.3 percent rate, No. 42 in the NCAA.
GEORGIA STATE-BELMONT SERIES HISTORY
Georgia State and Belmont were Atlantic Sun rivals for four seasons before GSU left to become members of the CAA. During the four years, the two teams split 4-4 and were rivals at the top of the standings in first or second almost every year. In those four years, Georgia State was 21-10, 20-11, 18-11 and 16-14, while Belmont was posting marks of 17-11, 16-12, 19-10 and 19-9. Oddly, the teams were always in different brackets and never met in a conference tourney.
The last game was Feb. 17, 2005 at Belmont, a 76-65 Bruins win. GSU had won in Atlanta that year, 84-75, on Jan. 15, 2005.
The first-ever meeting was at Belmont on Dec. 9, 1997, in a game the host Bruins won, 80-74. The all-time series is 6-4 Belmont, based on the 1997-98 and 1998-99 wins.
FAST STARTS ARE FIRST KEY TO SUCCESS
Georgia State has started strong from the opening tip to get the tempo the way it likes and get a lead it won't relinquish:
- UCF - 4-0, 17-3, 31-13, 39-24 at halftime (+15)
- JSU - 13-2, 20-5, 30-10 and 43-28 at halftime (+15)
- Ga Southern - 4-0, 14-4, 22-7, 30-13 and 34-18 at halftime (+16)
- Fla. A&M - 8-0, 16-3, 32-12 and 41-18 at halftime (+23)
- Kennesaw - 7-0, 11-2, 16-6, 33-12, 33-15 at halftime (+18)
Even in the loss at Florida, GSU battled early. It was 8-8 after seven minutes and 10-10 after eight minutes. GSU was down only 16-12 after 11 minutes of play with the No. 24 RPI Gators. The problem for GSU was getting the ball into the basket as the Panthers got off 41 to 29 shots in the first half against Florida, but made just 26.8%. GSU also held a 30-20 rebound advantage at the half in crashing the boards hard and often.
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Visiting team web site, CLICK HERE.