3 things to watch in Monday’s Georgia State exhibition finale

Ryan Harrow lead Georgia State with 27 points in the exhibition opener. (Photo courtesy of Georgia State)

Ryan Harrow lead Georgia State with 27 points in the exhibition opener. (Photo courtesy of Georgia State)

Three things to watch when Georgia State hosts Shorter in its final exhibition game in men’s basketball tonight at the Sports Arena:

Rebounding and defense. This is what I’ll likely be watching more than anything else all year, and it takes on added importance after the Panthers were outrebounded 35-32 by a much shorter Georgia College squad in the opening exhibition game. The Panthers were outrebounded by more than four per game last year in winning the Sun Belt’s regular-season title.  I would expect Curtis Washington to play more than the 11 minutes logged in the opener as he works his way back from injury. A healthy and aggressive Washington can improve the team’s rebounding. T.J. Shipes, who played 24 minutes in the opener, only had two rebounds, another performance that needs to be improved.

Georgia College also hit 10 of its 25 3-pointers. Opponents actually outshot Georgia State in 3-pointers last year, hitting 267 to the Panthers’ 252.

Teams that hope to do some damage in the NCAA tournament must be able to rebound and must be able to defend 3-pointers.

Hunter’s 3s. R.J. Hunter had an off night against Georgia College, missing all eight of his 3-point attempts. He still finished with 17 points and shot nearly 50 percent overall. It’s no secret that hitting 3s is a key ingredient in the Panthers’ offense, and it’s no secret that Hunter is the team’s best 3-point shooter with 100 hit last year. It’s also no secret that he and Ryan Harrow are going to be the focus of every team’s defense this season.

I’ll be curious to see if Ron Hunter tries to get R.J. going early, or if he practices the “let the game come to you” approach.

The starting lineup. Hunter put out a surprising starting lineup in the first exhibition game, with Shipes and Markus Crider both in the first five.

Hunter said that after the summer trip to Costa Rica that the “light had gone off” for Shipes, but I will still surprised to see him starting.

I think Shipes does bring a physical presence that is needed, but it’s one he’s still learning to control and that usually results in a lot of fouls called against him his first two years.

I’m guessing the starting five you see on Monday will be the one Ron Hunter wants to use this season and will feature Harrow, Hunter, Kevin Ware, Washington and a surprise. I think the surprise may be either Jordan Session or Jalen Brown. Hunter likes Session ability to rebound. He doesn’t like that he’s a freshman. Brown may be included to see how he plays in extended minutes. In six minutes last week he grabbed two rebounds and scored three points.

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