­ATLANTA-For the second time this season, Georgia State will face a future Sun Belt Conference foe. The Panthers will travel to Alabama to face Troy in the new Trojan Arena on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Georgia State will officially become members of the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2013. The two squads were also conference foes as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Panthers have won two in a row and are 5-4 on the season, while Troy (4-7) has lost five in a row following a Thursday night loss at Alabama State. Georgia State leads the all-time series 13-9, including an 80-70 victory two years ago.

The game can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning with the Panther Pregame Show at 7:30 p.m. Live stats and live video will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com.

“I have a lot of respect for the Troy program and head coach Don Maestri,” commented GSU head coach Ron Hunter. “He has been at Troy as long as I can remember and he has built a very good program. I am looking forward to competing against them on a year-to-year basis.

“The team was able to work on a lot in practice this week. There are times when a week off like this can be good for a program and there are times when it can be bad. I think coming off of final exams, it was a good time for us as we were able to accomplish a lot and prepare for three games in the next eight days.”

Following Saturday night’s contest, Georgia State will host Southern Miss on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on CSS. The Panthers will close the week with a trip to Rhode Island to face the Rams, another televised game, on Dec. 22.

Junior point guard Devonta White, who earned Preseason All-CAA Second Team honors this year, has continued to be the backbone of the team this season. White leads the team in scoring with 15.1 points per game, ninth in the CAA, and minutes, 35.7, fourth in the league. One of three team captains, White is also averaging 3.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game, second in the CAA.

White is just 322 points away from becoming the 17th Panther with 1,000 career points. He is on pace to eclipse that mark by the end of the year.

Freshman R.J. Hunter, the only son of head coach Ron Hunter, is scoring 15.0 points per game following a 21-point, seven-rebound game against Southern Poly last Saturday. He is 10th in the CAA in scoring and 15th in rebounding, averaging 5.0 per game. He has already been named CAA Rookie of the Week twice this season.

Hunter is among the CAA leaders in free throw percentage, three-point percentage, three-pointers made, assists, steals and defensive rebounds.

Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins enters Saturday’s contest following a 16-point, six-rebound performance against the Hornets. The Virginia Tech transfer has scored 87 points in his last five games.

Atkins is averaging 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, shooting 79.2 percent from the free throw line, sixth best in the CAA. He leads the CAA in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. He is also tied for sixth in the CAA making 1.8 three-pointers per game.

Redshirt-sophomore Cameron Solomon made his first career start against Southern Poly, but has become one of the Panthers top players off the bench this season. He has is averaging 6.3 points per game, fifth best on the team, despite playing just 13.6 minutes per contest.

Troy is led by a pair of players averaging in double figures. Hunter Williams and Emil Jones each are averaging just over 10.0 points per game, with Jones pulling down 5.7 rebounds per contest.

Head coach Don Maestri has been at Troy since 1982 and guided the Trojan program from a fledgling Division II program to conference championships in three different Division I leagues. He is approaching his 500th career victory and should reach that milestone this season.

Georgia State’s match-up with Southern Miss on Tuesday will be the final home game of the calendar year and last non-conference home game of the season. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-866-GA-STATE or visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com

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