ATLANTA — Georgia State will travel to UT Arlington Thursday looking to clinch at least a share of the Sun Belt regular season title with a win. The Panthers have a three-game lead in the conference with just four games to play, looking for their first regular season championship since the 2001-02 season.
Thursday’s contest can also be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3 and WRAS-FM 88.5, with Dave Cohen, now in his 31st year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by 680 The Fan’s Brandon Leak. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
Georgia State (20-7, 13-1 Sun Belt) has won 17 of its last 18 games following a dramatic 80-77 victory over UL Lafayette on Saturday night. Senior Manny Atkins hit a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds to play to secure the win and was honored with Sun Belt Player-of-the-Week honors on Monday.
“There is no question that after four games in eight days, our team was tired,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “After a couple of days off, I think we are refreshed and ready to embark on our final regular season road trip of the year. We control our own destiny to win the regular season title and at this point in the season, that is all you can ask for.”
UT Arlington (12-14, 7-7 Sun Belt) is currently alone in fifth-place in the Sun Belt, 1.5-games behind UL Lafayette for a bye into the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt tournament. The Mavericks are led by Reger Dowell who is averaging 20.0 points per game and has knocked down 82 3-pointers this year.
Georgia State enters the contest No. 2 in the country in fewest turnovers with just 211 this season and turnovers per game, averaging 8.5. The Panthers are third in the NCAA in free throw percentage, making 77.3-percent from the line. GSU is also fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.61) and turnover margin (5.7) in the latest rankings.
Sophomore R.J. Hunter, who has hit a team-high 89 3-pointers and is just five shy of tying the single-season school-record, is among the top-10 in the NCAA in 3-point field goals made and 3-point field goal attempts.
Hunter leads the Panthers in scoring, averaging 19.3 points per game, third-best in the Sun Belt. Only six Panthers in program history have averaged 20 or more points in a season, the last coming ten years ago.
The sophomore is shooting 87.8-percent from the free throw line this season, currently No. 32 in the NCAA, and on pace to break the school-record of 87.6-percent held by Matt O’Brien.
Atkins reached the 1,000-point plateau on Feb. 20, giving the Panthers four 1,000-point scorers in the starting lineup. Georgia State joins Elon and North Dakota State has the only programs in the country with four active 1,000-point scorers.
Atkins is averaging 13.9 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game. One of the top 3-point shooters in the league, the senior is shooting 49.2-percent from the floor and making 46.3-percent from 3-point range, knocking down 2.1 3s per game, both among the top-10 in the conference. He is on pace to be the second-best 3-point shooter in program history, currently making 43.3-percent from behind the arc for his career.
Redshirt-junior Ryan Harrow joined the 1,000-point club on Feb. 17 just two days after Hunter became the 18 th Panther in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing it in just 55 games, the second-quickest in team history.
Harrow is adding 17.3 points per game, fifth in the Sun Belt. He has scored 20 or more points 12 times this year, including a pair of 30-plus point games. The redshirt-junior is dishing out a team-high 4.6 assists per game, second in the Sun Belt. He leads the Sun Belt with a 2.6 assist/turnover ratio.
Senior Devonta White joined the group 1,000-point group in the final game of last season and currently stands at 1,311 points, fourth most in program history.
White is averaging 11.5 points per game and is shooting 81.7-percent from the free throw line, eighth in the conference. He is also averaging 4.4 assists per game, fourth in the Sun Belt.
Redshirt-junior Curtis Washington rounds out the starting line-up. Washington is averaging 8.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He leads the Sun Belt making 66.9-percent from the floor and is second averaging 2.4 blocked shots per game.
Georgia State is averaging 78.8 points per game, second in the Sun Belt. The Panthers lead the conference in scoring margin, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, blocked shots, steals, turnover margin and assist/turnover ratio.
Offensively, GSU is shooting 47.5-percent from the floor and 38.4-percent from 3-point range. Four Panthers are ranked in the top-eight in free-throw percentage in the Sun Belt.
Following the game on Thursday, Georgia State will continue its three-game road trip at Texas State on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET.