Georgia State was beaten 59-58 by Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday at the Sports Arena. The loss snapped the Panthers’ 10-0 winning streak at home. It was also Georgia State’s (14-8, 6-5) fourth loss in its past five games.
The crowd. Georgia State used the energy provided by its crowed, the loudest it has been this season in my opinion, to give itself a chance to beat the Rams in the final seconds. Hunter said he could see that his team, playing its fifth game in 11 days, was out of gas and needed a spark. So he implored the crowd to try. They responded.
Jihad Ali. The senior scored a game-high 18 points to lead the team for the second consecutive game since moving back to the sixth-man role. He says he doesn’t care if he starts or comes off the bench, but Hunter believes he’s more productive in his current role.
The 3-point shooting (part 1). The team hit 33.3 percent of its 3-pointers, including four in the game’s last three minutes. If not for those, it could have been another blowout, just like Wednesday’s loss at Drexel.
The fifth starter. In his third attempt in four games to generate some more scoring from his starters, Hunter made a change. This time, Brandon McGee, who has scored two points in his past two starts, was benched in favor of Rashaad Richardson. He didn’t score in 15 minutes against the Rams. That means the fifth starter has scored two points in the past three games. Hunter said the team is already offensively-challenged. It needs something more.
The 3-point shooting (part II). If Georgia State had one more consistent 3-point shooter, it’s a good bet that they would have just one loss in the conference this season. The team was 3-of-17 from behind the line before its last barrage. The half-court offense just grinds to a halt when opponents can sit back in their zone, or man-to-man. For several minutes, perhaps because of the exhaustion, the Panthers players just didn’t move around much in their half-court sets. When they don’t move, they become much easier to guard (duh!),w hich brings us to our last point….
CAA’s travel agent. Georgia State isn’t the only victim of the conference’s scheduling, but it was playing its fifth game in 11 days, which just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Three of those games were on the road in Boston, Delaware and Philadelphia. That’s not like driving to Clemson or Auburn for you ACC and SEC fans. It robs the kids of classroom time and it robs them of energy, which doesn’t put the best product on TV. Perhaps the CAA should consider playing more conference games in December, which would thin out the schedule.
Moving games to December, when school is out for the holiday break, risks lower attendance and fewer dollars. That obviously has to be taken into consideration. But, it seems like moving at least two games would help the student-athletes. It seems to make more sense to play a couple of games when they don’t have class to worry about, compared to when they do. For example, Georgia State left for Northeastern on a Tuesday, and didn’t get back home until late Saturday night. That’s four days of classes. That kind of trip isn’t true for all of the schools. But Georgia State is so far removed from the rest of the CAA, that kind of travel is necessary.
What do you think?
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu