Georgia State (8-11) at Towson (10-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 21, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Towson Center Arena (5,250) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 6-5, Towson 2-3. Away Record: GSU 2-6, Towson 5-6. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, Towson 3-0. Conference Record: GSU 3-3, Towson 5-1. Series Record: Georgia State leads, 8-6.
GAME NOTES: Both the Georgia State Panthers and the Towson Tigers try to extend their winning streaks to three games on Monday night, as the two teams meet in a Colonial Athletic Association bout in Maryland.
Georgia State had been losers in six of its previous seven games prior to notching back-to-back wins over William & Mary (74-58) and Old Dominion (69-54). The Panthers' run has evened their CAA record at 3-3, and they now sit at 8-11 overall.
Considering Towson's dreadful 1-31 season in 2011-12, its 10-9 record at this point in the campaign is nothing short of remarkable. The Tigers have been playing their best basketball of the season in recent weeks, winning six of their last seven games, culminating in a 73-47 triumph over James Madison on Saturday to improve to 5-1 in conference. Despite their recent success, the Tigers have won just two of five games on their home floor this season.
Although Georgia State leads the all-time series with Towson, 8-6, the Tigers have won five of six on their home floor.
The Panthers did not put together their best performance on Saturday, as they made just 40.4 percent of their field goal attempts, but they were able to cruise to the 15-point win by forcing ODU into as many turnovers as it had field goals (17). Manny Atkins shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range and converted all five of his free throw attempts on his way to 21 points, while R.J. Hunter poured in 20 points. Devonta White added 15 points and seven assists, and James Vincent made up for a poor shooting night (1-of-6) by contributing 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Georgia State has relied on Hunter (15.6 ppg), White (14.1 ppg) and Atkins (13.8 ppg) all season long, as they all rank in the top-15 in the CAA in scoring. The trio also makes an impact at the defensive end, coming up with 1.5 steals per contest apiece. However, no other player scores more than 6.4 ppg for GSU, which shoots a modest 42.4 percent from the floor for 65.2 ppg.
Towson has a decent shooting game in its latest win, making 25-of-55 from the field (.455), but the real story was its performance at the defensive end of the court as it held James Madison to a mere 14-of-55 (.255) en route to a dominating 26-point win. Jerrell Benimon logged a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Bilal Dixon and Jerome Hairston also scored 13 points, and Mike Burwell and Rafriel Guthrie rounded out the balanced attack with 10 points apiece. Much of the Tigers' success this season has come thanks to Benimon, who not only nets 16.9 ppg and grabs a league-high 11.7 rpg, but also leads the team in assists (2.5) and ranks in the top-five in the league in field goal percentage (.540) and blocks (2.2). While Benimon is the only player who averages double-digits in scoring, Marcus Damas, Hairston and Burwell all net between 9.0 and 9.9 ppg for Towson, which puts up 66.2 ppg on 42.8 percent shooting as a team.
Although Towson hasn't been strong on its home floor this season, its recent play has set a precedent that it'll be in the mix in the CAA for the rest of the season, and it should be able to keep rolling along in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 66, Georgia State 61
01/21 10:37:01 ET