The Georgia State men’s basketball team will take on Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday at the Sports Arena. The game can be heard on 1340AM and 1230AM.
The Panthers (8-4, 1-0) are coming off a 20-point win over Louisiana-Monroe that featured poor play in the first half and very good play in the second half.
The Trojans (5-6, 0-1) are coming off a 83-79 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Little Rock’s best win this season came against Bradley, though the pickings are slim. They were also blown out by Green Bay, as was Georgia State. But the Panthers also posted a big win over the Green Bay in the first game in the home-and-home series.
Can Crider keep it going? Forward Markus Crider posted his first double-double in the win over Louisiana-Monroe with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Playing out of the high post, Crider was very difficult to handle because he can hit that 10-foot jumper or blow right by his defenders to get to the basket. Crider last year showed an ability to play very well in spurts – he had three consecutive games last year with of 10, 12 and 12 points – before his production dropped off again. But Crider is a year older and always seems confident. Crider will have a challenge with James White and Roger Woods in the Little Rock’s front court. They are combining to average more than 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Can Hunter find his shooting stroke? R.J. Hunter remains Georgia State’s leading scorer but it’s no secret that he has yet to find his shooting form this year. In the past four games he has hit just six of his 30 3-point attempts. Several bounced in and out against Monroe, which eventually resulted in Hunter showing a bit of head shaking and anguish with the lack of results. For the season, he is hitting just 31.1 percent of his 3-pointers, far below his 36.9 percent career mark. It’s not so bad that he’s not hitting his 3s because Ryan Harrow has usually been there to add his points. However, he has struggled to find his form in the past two games with just 10 shots made in 33 attempts.
Will Washington find his fire? Curtis Washington was benched in the second half of the win over the Warhawks because coach Ron Hunter didn’t like his lack of energy in the first half. I’ve been critical of Washington for a similar reason, but it’s difficult to leave the guy who is usually the tallest player on either team sitting on the bench. Washington doesn’t have to score. He doesn’t even have to block shots. He just needs to alter shots/affect shooters and box out He is capable of these things. He usually does these things in small bursts. The key is doing them most of the time. T.J. Shipes, who missed the last game with an abdominal injury and is averaging 5.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, has been cleared to play and practiced with the team on Thursday. He will likely be back in the starting lineup, which will push Washington back to the bench. With the way Jordan Session and Jalen Brown played on Thursday, each bringing energy and aggressiveness on the defensive end, Washington will have a challenge ahead of him.
Also, here are some cut and paste notes from New York Jets fan and Rex Ryan love-child Mike Holmes:
- The Panthers are 1-0 in the league and have won 18 of 19 conference games since returning to the Sun Belt Conference last year.
- Georgia State has won 30 of its last 37 games, including 29 of 34 regular season games.
- Georgia State’s 8-4 start is fourth-best 12-game start in program history.
- Georgia State is riding a 17-game home-court winning streak which is tied for the ninth-longest in the country with Eastern Michigan and North Dakota State. Duke has won 39-straight home games for the longest streak in the country.
- Under coach Ron Hunter, the Panthers are 39-10 in the GSU Sports Arena, a winning percentage of 79.6.
- Georgia State stood No. 56 in NCAA RPI rankings on Wednesday. The Panthers have been has high as No. 39 this season. The Panthers played five non-conference games against teams ranked in the top 35.
- Georgia State’s four losses have come to teams with a combined 43-5 record. Colorado State (13-0) and Iowa State (9-1) are both ranked in the AP Top 25, while Old Dominion (11-1) is receiving votes and Green Bay (10-3) is ranked No. 5 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Panthers also scored a win over the Phoenix when they were ranked No. 1.
- R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow are combining to average 39.4 points per game, the third-most of any duo in the country.
- With 1,380 points, R.J. Hunter is the No. 1 active scorer in the NCAA of all third-year players and the only junior ranked in the top 50.
- Georgia State is 38th in the NCAA with a 48.0 field goal percentage which ranks second in the Sun Belt. The Panthers have already had two of the top-10 field goal and 3-point field goal single-game shooting percentages in school history this year.
- Georgia State is among the top 25 in the NCAA in three key stats. The Panthers are 12th in the nation averaging 9.4 steals per game, seventh in turnover margin, currently at +5.8 per game and 14th in turnovers, averaging just 10.4 per game.