Here are three things to watch in Georgia State’s basketball game at Colorado State on Friday.
The Panthers (1-1) are coming off an 81-58 loss at Iowa State. The Rams defeated Montana 83-66 in their season opener.
Can the offense find its footing? The Panthers started slowly, got better and then disintegrated against the Cyclones on Monday. R.J. Hunter led the team with 21 points. Ryan Harrow added 12, but took 22 shots to get them. Strangely, particularly for a slashing player, Harrow didn’t shoot a free throw. Plus, many of his unorthodox shots that normally drop wouldn’t go in against the Cyclones. But Hunter and Harrow were the only two threats and that’s not enough. Kevin Ware, perhaps feeling the effects of the sickness that delayed his arrival in Ames, only took six shots. Curtis Washington only took two shots, and one of them hit the side of the backboard. The team needs someone to step up and take the heat off Hunter and Harrow on offense. Manny Atkins had that role last year. The third scoring threat should start with Ware and then move down the line until Jeff Thomas is cleared to play by the NCAA.
Who will start in the front court? Washington wasn’t good at Iowa State. Not only did he score just two points, but he grabbed just two rebounds in 14 minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see coach Ron Hunter go with a smaller lineup, something he’s threatened to do in the past during spells when Washington wasn’t playing well, and use T.J. Shipes and Markus Crider at the four and five spots. Neither have the shot-blocking potential of Washington, but they do grab rebounds and box out. Crider had 10 and Shipes 6 rebounds. Plus, they combined to score 16 points. If they get into foul trouble, Washington and Jalen Brown could come on as a platoon.
Is there any reason to panic? No. The team started slowly last year with losses at Vanderbilt , Alabama, Canisius, Elon, Florida International and Southern Miss before ripping off a 14-game winning streak. Hunter said part of the issues then were chemistry with breaking in Harrow and Washington. This year, they are breaking in Ware, so it may take a few games for everyone to find their confidence with each other.
About the Rams
Colorado State is led by 6-foot-8 forward Stanton Kidd, who scored 19 in the opener.
Daniel Bejarano, a 6-foot-5 guard and preseason all-conference selection, added 15 points and nine rebounds, Gian Clavell, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored 13 points and John Gillon 11.
The Rams were predicted to finish fifth in the Mountain West preseason poll.