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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Monmouth 1-0, GSU 0-0. Away Record: Monmouth 0-2, GSU 0-2. Neutral Record: Monmouth 0-0, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: Monmouth 0-0, GSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers play host to the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic this week, with their first opponent being the Monmouth Hawks on Monday night.
The round-robin style tournament will take place over the next three days, with South Alabama and Tennessee State also joining the action. Each team will play each other once.
Monmouth's season got off to a strong start with a convincing home win over Hofstra, 91-62, but since then it has dropped consecutive games at nationally- ranked Duke (84-57) and Rider (65-62). The Hawks will play just three more home games from now until Jan. 5, 2013 as they play out their non-conference schedule.
Nobody can fault Georgia State for not scheduling quality opponents in the early going. In what is bound to be their two most difficult games of the regular season, the Panthers went on the road and lost to both No. 8 Duke (74-55) and BYU (80-62). They'll enjoy the friendly confines of GSU Sports Arena over the next five games.
Monmouth trailed Rider by 15 points at the half the last time out and battled back to tie the game at 62-62 with just over a minute to play. But the Broncs scored the final three points of the game as Monmouth's comeback attempt was thwarted. It was a terrible shooting night for the Hawks, who connected on just 32.9 percent of their field goal attempts, including a woeful 17.4 percent from three-point range (4-of-23). One of the lone bright spots for the squad in the loss was Dion Nesmith, who scored 15 points while also adding four assists, three steals, and a block. Jesse Steele was the only other player to tally double digits with 10 points, but he did so on a terrible night from the field (4-of-20). Andrew Nicholas (eight points, 3-of-17) also didn't give up shooting the ball despite being ice cold. Even with his poor performance, Nicholas remains the team's leading scorer with 15.0 ppg.
Harsh judgement on Georgia State's early season numbers (.362 FG percentage, 58.5 ppg) needs to be saved for the time being considering the quality of its opponents. The team's shooting effort against BYU was especially poor from three-point range, where the Panthers connected on just 3-of-22 attempts. Manny Atkins was able to rise above the team's struggles by logging 21 points and eight rebounds, and Devonta White (14 points) and R.J. Hunter (12 points, seven rebounds) also put forth respectable stat lines. White was the team's leading scorer last season, and he's off to a good start this year with 16.5 ppg, although he'd like to limit his turnovers (11). Atkins, a transfer from Virginia Tech, is playing his first season in Atlanta and has impressed with 13.0 ppg.
Although it's still winless, Georgia State gained invaluable experience in its early season road games. Monmouth has a few playmakers that can disrupt the Panthers, but with the home crowd on their side they should prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 77, Monmouth 65
11/19 10:41:29 ET
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