GAME NOTES: Former conference foes collide on Saturday afternoon, as the Old Dominion Monarchs pay a visit to the Georgia State Panthers.
The Panthers bolted from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Sun Belt Conference this year. Georgia State was a founding member of the Sun Belt in 1976. ODU leads the all-time series with GSU, 15-4, but the Panthers have won the last two meetings. In the Feb. 2, 2013 encounter, R.J. Hunter scored a career-high 38 points, and made a school and CAA record 10 3-pointers in Georgia State's 83-63 win in Atlanta.
The Monarchs are in free-fall mode, having lost four in a row, including last Sunday's 69-48 verdict at VCU. Aaron Bacote and Keenan Palmore scored 13 points each for ODU. Richard Ross led the Monarchs on the glass with nine rebounds and he also blocked four shots.
ODU's offense is predicated on the success of Bacote, who leads the team with 18.7 ppg. The sophomore guard is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range and has thrived at the free-throw line by making 80.4 percent of his attempts. Still, that hasn't been enough for the Monarchs, who have also fallen to NC Central, Saint Louis and West Virginia during their current skid. Redshirt junior Dimitri Batten (12.4 ppg) and fellow guard Keenan Palmore (10.0 ppg) are the other double-digit scorers from the starting lineup. Forward Richard Ross (9.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) has been a force in the low blocks. Although ODU has actually outrebounded its opponents this season, the downfall for the Monarchs has been finding the basket. They are making only 55.7 percent of their foul shots and are averaging only 66.4 ppg, which is barely cracking the top-300 among Division I teams.
The Panthers have dropped five of their last six games, including an overtime defeat at Southern Miss a week ago. The Panthers were led by Ryan Harrow's 20 points. Hunter finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Manny Atkins chipped in 14 points, while Devonta White had 13.
Harrow is averaging a team-best 18.3 ppg to go with 4.0 apg. Hunter is second on the team averaging 15.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per tilt. Atkins (10.3 ppg) is shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range. Curtis Washington (9.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg) has been a force in the middle. He ranks eighth in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 3.9 per game. Georgia State is shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from 3-point range, while making 72.9 percent from the free-throw line. Hunter has made 14 straight free throws, nine short of the school record held by Nate Williams.
It will be difficult for the Monarchs to contain Harrow and Hunter. Playing at home gives the Panthers a distinct advantage as they are 24-10 as the hosts in the two-plus seasons under coach Ron Hunter.
Game Date and Time