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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 12-0, UTA 8-4. Away Record: GSU 7-6, UTA 4-10. Neutral Record: GSU 1-1, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 13-1, UTA 7-7. Series Record: Texas-Arlington leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia State Panthers will attempt to earn at least a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship on Thursday night when they head to the College Park Center to face off against the Texas-Arlington Mavericks.
GSU has won three straight games and 17 of its last 18 to catapult to 20-7 overall this season, and at 13-1 in the conference, it has a three-game lead over Western Kentucky with four regular-season bouts left. The Panthers most recently edged Louisiana at home on Saturday, 80-77, and will now head back out on the road, where they are a modest 7-6.
UTA's season has been up and down, resulting in a 12-14 record and a .500 ledger in league play (7-7). The Mavericks have been impressive in recent weeks with wins in three of their last four, including a 75-71 road victory over Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday, and they've been stellar on their home floor (8-4).
The Mavericks hold a 3-1 lead in the all-time series with the Panthers, although GSU won in overtime back on Feb. 1 at home, 101-91.
The Panthers fell behind Louisiana by 12 less than five minutes into their latest bout and trailed by eight at the half, but after shooting just 37.5 percent from the field in the opening stanza, they made good on greater than 58 percent of their tries from the floor after intermission as they came back to capture the three-point victory. Pacing five players in double figures with 18 points was Ryan Harrow, who also chipped in seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. Devonta White added 17 points, R.J. Hunter poured in 14 points and Manny Atkins and Markus Crider scored 12 apiece.
GSU's offensive attack has been on point all season long, as it shoots 47.5 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from beyond the arc and 77.3 percent at the free-throw line for 78.8 ppg, which is more than enough to support its modest scoring defense (70.0 ppg). It also ranks in the top-five nationally in turnover margin (+5.7). Hunter leads the way with 19.3 ppg, having made 89 3- pointers at a 41.2 percent clip. Harrow brings 17.3 ppg and 4.6 apg to the table, while Atkins (13.9 ppg), White (11.5 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Curtis Washington (8.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg) round out the outstanding starting five.
The Mavericks built a lead as large 15 points in the second half of their most recent matchup, and while they saw that advantage shrink to just a single possession late, they managed to hold on for the impressive road win, as they outshot UALR from the field, 44.7 percent to 38.2 percent, and outscored it at free-throw line, 23-12. Jamel Outler knocked down 5-of-10 from 3-point range on his way to 21 points, Brandon Edwards tallied 17 points and nine rebounds and Reger Dowell added 15 points and five assists.
Scoring points has come rather easily for UTA this season, as they make good on 44 percent of its field goal tries and connect on 8.3 3-pointers per game for 77.0 ppg, but it has waded in mediocrity by allowing its opponents to put up nearly identical numbers (.440, 77.6 ppg). Dowell ranks in the top-30 nationally in scoring with 20.0 ppg thanks in large part to his prowess from long range (82-of-216, .380). Edwards is a double-double threat on any given night with 15.9 ppg and 9.5 rpg and is also a strong defender with 43 blocks and 23 steals. Lonnie McClanahan stuffs the stat sheet with 15.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 3.9 apg, while Outler (11.1 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scorers.
UTA's homecourt advantage and propensity for putting up impressive scoring totals gives it a legitimate shot at an upset in this one, but Georgia State has breezed through most of its Sun Belt schedule and should find a way to keep its hot streak alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 83, Texas-Arlington 77
02/27 10:18:07 ET
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