The Georgia State men’s basketball team will take on Chicago State on Monday. The game will be played at Oakland University in Detroit.
The Panthers are coming off back-to-back losses to Iowa State, 81-58, and Colorado State, 80-70, games that followed similar patterns and will dictate my three thoughts about this game:
Find a third scorer. Through three games, coach Ron Hunter knows that R.J. Hunter (21.3 points per game) and Ryan Harrow (21 ppg) can score. Beyond that, no one is stepping up and it’s making it easier on defenses. That player last year was either Manny Atkins or Devonta White, both of whom used up their eligibility. It was assumed before the season that Kevin Ware, Jeff Thomas or Curtis Washington would become that scorer. It’s not happening…yet. Ware (8.3 ppg) is finding his way into the offense, Washington (6.3 ppg) is playing but not doing much and Thomas is being left in limbo by the NCAA Clearinghouse and hasn’t seen the court. Some of that scoring could actually come from hitting free throws. The Panthers were one of the best teams in Division I last at hitting them but are only knocking down 57.9 percent this year.
Front-court starters. For the second consecutive game, Washington played but didn’t contribute much in the loss to Rams with the four points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. Markus Crider was worse with no points and three rebounds in 18 minutes. Two personal fouls picked up in the first six minutes hampered him. T.J. Shipes added four points and six rebounds in 19 minutes as he continues to push for a starter’s spot. Until the team can find a third scorer, they are going to have to win with defense, which means that one of these three – or all three — have to contribute more. The Panthers are being outrebounded and outblocked and that won’t do.
Any reason to panic? I can understand if you are starting to feel a little bit of dread. Instead of a team filled with big-name players and bigger expectations, the Panthers are playing like a group of big names. People either haven’t figured out their roles or aren’t fulfilling their roles. The defense is getting torched in the second half of games after giving up 46 points to in the final period to Iowa State and 51 to the Rams. The team started slowly last year before getting it going just before Sun Belt play started.
Switching to football
I was supposed to be at Clemson to cover yesterday’s football game but a stomach bug had other ideas.
The Panthers were beaten as expected, but put up a respectable showing in a 28-0 loss. The defense shut out the Tigers in the second half. The offense wasn’t able to get much going against one of the best defenses in the country. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle continued his second-half swoon with three more interceptions – increasing his total to six in the past three games — and the running game posted just 40 yards.
The team will close the season hosting Texas State at the Georgia Dome.