ATLANTA-Georgia State will open its final season of
Colonial Athletic Association play on Wednesday night with conference preseason
favorite Drexel at 7 p.m. in the Sports Arena.
Georgia State (5-8, 0-0 CAA) will move to the Sun Belt
Conference next season after joining the conference in 2005. The Panthers will
be looking to snap a four-game losing steak that has included one-point,
two-point and an overtime losses.
game can be heard live on WRAS-FM 88.5 beginning with the Panther Pregame Show
at 6:30 p.m. with the Voice of the Panthers Dave Cohen and former Panther
Rodney Turner calling the action. Live stats and live video will be available
State dropped a heartbreaker to in-state foe Georgia Southern on Saturday. The
Panthers opened the game on a 17-0 run and led by 10 points with less than two
minutes to play before the Eagles rallied and won the game in overtime.
guys were obviously disappointed to lose on Saturday, but I think they are
using it as motivation as we enter CAA play,” commented head coach Ron Hunter.
“We are a young team and sometimes you have to hit rock-bottom before you can
right the ship. Our players have been giving all of their effort in games and
practice and it is going to start to pay off.
I do not like to lose, but we have been in every game and after some close wins
early, I know we are going to get it turned around and start winning these
close games again.”
Hunter eluted to, the Panthers have won their fair share of close games this
season. Georgia State defeated Tennessee State on a half-court buzzer-beater by
Rashaad Richardson and then a night later, survived a two-point victory over
South Alabama as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Less than two weeks
later, Richardson provided the heroics again hitting a three-pointer with less
than three seconds remaining to give GSU a come-from-behind win over Liberty.
Junior point guard Devonta White, who earned Preseason
All-CAA Second Team honors before the season and has also named to the Bob Cousy
Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award Watch
List by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, leads the CAA in minutes
played (36.7) and steals per game (2.2).
White is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.6
points per game, 11th in the CAA, while dishing out 2.8 assists, tied for ninth
in the league.
The junior captain, who missed 10
games during his freshman season due to an injury, is just 268 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, needing to average 14.9 points per
game in the remaining regular season contests.
R.J. Hunter, the only son of head coach Ron Hunter, leads
all CAA freshmen in scoring and rebounding. He has been named the CAA Rookie of
the Week three times already this season and is a leading candidate for CAA
Rookie of the Year.
Hunter is averaging a team-high 15.5 points per game,
eighth in the CAA, and 5.9 rebounds per game, the 16th best mark in
the conference. He is also collecting 2.1 three-pointers per game, fourth best
in the league and shooting 35.1 percent from beyond the arc, seventh in the
Hunter is also among the CAA leaders in free throw percentage,
steals, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.
Redshirt-junior Manny Atkins enters Wednesday’s
contest after a 14-point, eight-rebound effort against Georgia Southern. The
Virginia Tech transfer has scored 140 points in his last nine games, a 15.5
points per game average.
Atkins has missed three double-doubles this season by just one rebound
and another three double-doubles by just two rebounds.
From nearby Tucker, Ga., Atkins is
averaging 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season, both among the top
15 in the CAA. Atkins is also shooting 76.3 percent from the free throw line, ninth
best in the CAA. He is second in the CAA in three-point field goal percentage,
hitting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. He is also tied for seventh in the
CAA making 1.7 three-pointers per game.
Lone senior James Vincent is also among the CAA rankings. He leads the
league averaging 2.5 blocked shots per game and is 20th in the
league in rebounding, pulling down 5.0 per contest. He blocked five shots at
Georgia Southern and is now just six blocked shots shy of becoming just the
sixth Panther to earn 100 career blocks.
(4-8, 0-0 CAA) is led by Preseason First Team All-CAA member Damion Lee who is
averaging 18.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. Frantz Massenat,
who also earned Preseason First Team All-CAA honors, is adding 12.6 points and
4.5 assists per game while Daryl McCoy pulls down a team-high 8.3 rebounds per
CAA preseason favorites dropped a 63-49 contest to St. Joseph’s on New Year’s
Eve. Head coach Bruiser Flint picked up his 200th win at Drexel
earlier this year and has led the Dragons to back-to-back 20-plus win seasons.
Wednesday’s contest, Georgia State will return to the court on Saturday hosting
James Madison at 2 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.