Georgia State defeated San Antonio 82-71 on Saturday at the Sports Arena. The win improved the Panthers to 19-9, one win from coach Ron Hunter’s goal of 20. GSU will host Old Dominion on Wednesday in a game they must win to keep alive any hope of securing a top-four seed, which comes with a bye, in the CAA Tournament. The Panthers would still need ODU to lose its last game of the season and hope Delaware loses at least one more game.
But that will be then, and this was now (how’s that for twisting things?).
Half-court offense. The Panthers shot 56.9 percent, their best total since topping 60 against Georgia Southern in Dec. 2009. Leading the way were guards Devonta White and Rashaad Richardson. They had 16 each and hit six of their 11 3-point attempts. I assumed that the team was playing better half-court offense because it’s had more time to practice those sets. Hunter, White and Richardson said actually they are shooting better because they are getting used to teams playing so much zone defense against them. They also see it in the practices, which they said don’t last more than 32 minutes. I’m not sure why they are 32 minutes, but that’s what they said.
The team has shot at least 40 percent in five of its six games, since the five-games-in-11-day stretch ended.
The team is 5-1 this season when Richardson scores at least 10 points.
Quotes. A few from Hunter afterward (paraphrasing these):
I think there could be a surprise in Richmond.
19. A total few thought we could reach.
We just try to get Rashaad 10 points and then get him the heck out of the game.
Assists. Josh Micheaux had 11 assists. He and James Fields switched spots in the half-court set, which Micheaux usually running around the top of the Roadrunners’ 1-3-1 zone and Fields running underneath the basket. Hunter said they made that change because he liked having two points guards on either end of the offense. The team finished with 19 assists.
Lefty Driesell. Hunter said he re-inserted Fields into the starting lineup because he remembered Driesell telling him to stick what what his team does best. His team plays defense best and he said it played its best in wins against the CAA’s best when he had his best defenders on the court. So, he went back to the starting lineup he used in December and early January. The Roadrunners shot 47.3 percent, but committed 13 turnovers which the Panthers turned into 21 points.
Buckner’s blocks. He blocked four more shots. The only players ahead of him on the CAA’s all-time single-season lists are David Robinson and two players not named David Robinson.
Killer instinct. For the fifth time in six games the Panthers had a chance to end this game before halftime and couldn’t put away their opponent.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu