Archive for February, 2012

Two GSU seniors share some memories

Six Georgia State seniors will play what is most likely their last game at the Sports Arena when Old Dominion visits on Wednesday.

Jihad Ali, Eric Buckner, James Fields, Brandon McGee, Josh Micheaux and Jamar Taylor will be honored before the game.

“Coach Hunter has helped myself and the rest of us go out, winning almost 20 games,” Ali said. “I don’t want  my senior year to end. I just go out and play, not like it’s my last home game, but just as hard as I can.”

The possibility of 20 wins is something few predicted before the season. The Panthers were picked to finish 11th in the preseason. When he talks to his players about it, Hunter says they were 12th.

If they win on Wednesday, they can keep alive their hopes of finishing in fourth place in the CAA. Doing so ensures a bye in the first round of the CAA tournament. They would still need to win at William on Mary on Saturday, hope ODU loses to Drexel on Saturday, and need Delaware to lose at least one more game against …

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The good and bad of GSU’s win over Texas San Antonio

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?).

The good

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 …

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GSU to Sun Belt? Not yet — updated

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said Georgia State is on his conference’s radar screen regarding expansion. Speaking to Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham on 790AM, Benson said that he  “is aware  of Georgia State and UNC-Charlotte, as they’ve already made the decision to go FBS.”

Reached in his office Friday afternoon, Benson said he misspoke about Georgia State’s intentions. Panthers athletic director Cheryl Levick has repeatedly said there are no existing plans to move up to FBS in football. Attempts to reach Levick through the sports information office today were unsuccessful.

The Sun Belt is an FBS-level conference whose geographic footprint extends from north Texas to western Kentucky to southern Florida. It currently has 10 teams in football and Benson said he would like to expand to at least 12, which would allow the conference to host a championship game.

Benson, who was introduced as Sun Belt Commissioner on Thursday after many years leading the Western Athletic …

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Why no Spring Game? Here’s why

Georgia State’s football team will hold a scrimmage, instead of a Spring Game, this year for three reasons:

1. The Georgia Dome is booked the last two weeks of March because of the NCAA Tournament regional.

2.  The team is in the midst of the first of two seven-week conditioning programs. The second will begin after spring practices conclude on March 30. Coach Bill Curry said he wanted to contain the spring practices to March to allow the players to go through the conditioning programs, as well as to give the players time to study for finals in late April.

3. Lastly, Curry said he wants his team to get as many practices in as possible before the join the CAA. “…Which this team needs desperately as we get ready to play in the best FCS conference in the country,” he said. The Panthers went 3-8 last season.

The scrimmage will be at the team’s practice facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on March 24. The team held a Blue-White scrimmage last year at the Georgia Dome. …

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Exposure, exposure, exposure

Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick said the Panthers will benefit from the new TV deal announced earlier this week by receiving more national exposure.

The Colonial Athletic Association and NBC Sports announced a new five-year deal that will begin in 2012-13. No financial details have been released.

The highlights of the deal, which were stressed by Levick, are the national games that Georgia State could play in football and men’s basketball.

“The new NBC Sports network contract is a great deal for the CAA and a great opportunity for Georgia State university,” she said.

A minimum of five football games will be shown nationally, and at least 12 basketball games. Theoretically, the Panthers could be seen from Miami to Seattle to 17 times in one year.

The athletic directors will learn more of the details of the contract when they meet on March 1, a day before the men’s basketball tournament in Richmond.

Levick said the conference needed to find more ways to get more …

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Georgia State will open football on a Thursday

Georgia State’s football season-opener will be on Thursday, Aug. 30 against South Carolina State at the Georgia Dome. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.

It will be the second time in three years the Panthers have opened on a Thursday. In 2010, their program debuted with a 41-7 win against Shorter at the Dome. They opened with a win against Clark Atlanta on a Friday last season.

The date for this year’s game against the Bulldogs wasn’t set when the rest of the schedule was announced earlier this year. The delay was the result of negotiations between Georgia State and the Dome, which was waiting on NFL preseason schedules.

Season tickets are on sale. Call 866-GA-STATE for more information.

Georgia State schedule

Date  —  Opponent —  2011 Record — Comment

Aug. 30 — South Carolina State  —  7-4  — Defeated GSU last season

Sept. 8 — at Tennessee —  5-7 — Panthers’ second game against a SEC school

Sept. 15 — Texas San Antonio — 4-6 — Defeated GSU …

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The good and bad of Georgia State’s win over James Madison

Georgia State defeated James Madison 67-64 on Tuesday in Harrisonburg, Va. Free throws, the team’s weaknesses this season, was a strength against the Dukes.

The Panthers, hitting 64.6 percent of their free throws this season, hit nine of 10 in the final 3:06, including five of six in the final minute, to secure the win.

With three games remaining, the Panthers need only to win two to hit the 20-victory plateau. They will host Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.

Here’s the good and bad (which doesn’t include that the team is taking a bus all the way back to Atlanta) of Tuesday’s victory:

The Good

Jihad Ali. He scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, both team highs. He has scored at least 12 points in seven consecutive games.

Free throws. It’s been so rare this season I figure I’d mention it again. They hit 21 of 24 in the game. The 21 tied for the second-most made this season.

Devonta White. He scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer with less two minutes remaining.

Rashaad …

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CAA strikes TV deal with NBC Sports Group

The Colonial Athletic Association and NBC Sports Group announced a five-year deal on Monday that includes an increase in the number of nationally televised football and men’s basketball games.

CAA commissioner Tom Yeager declined to provide financial details, other than to say it’s a significantly enhanced position. The partnership begins in 2012-13.

The NBC Sports Network will nationally televise 12-18 men’s basketball games, including both semifinals and the championship game of the conference tournament for the first time. It will also nationally televise at least five football games in what Yeager said is a first for an FCS conference. Comcast regional sports networks will televise 39 additional men’s and women’s basketball games, including the quarterfinals of the men’s basketball tournament and the semifinals and finals of the women’s tournament.

Yeager said the number of the televised games will remain roughly the same, but more games will be broadcast nationally …

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GSU reports 2 minor violations

Georgia State reported two minor NCAA violations committed by its football coaching staff in the previous seven months.

The Level II Secondary violations were reported to the Colonial Athletic Association. Copies were obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act. No violations were committed by the basketball team during the same period.

The first violation occurred on Sept. 22 when assistant coach Anthony Midget and coach Bill Curry called the same recruit on the same day. Coaches are only allowed to call recruits once per week (during non-dead periods) after Sept. 1 of their senior year. Curry reported the violation to Georgia State’s compliance office the next day. Midget and Curry received letters of admonishment and the coaching staff wasn’t allowed to call the recruit for two weeks. The report was submitted to the CAA on Oct. 4.

The second violation occurred on Nov. 28 when defensive coordinator John Thompson spoke with a recruit that he believed to be a senior at that …

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The good and bad of Georgia State’s loss to Delaware

Georgia State was beaten 80-77 by Delaware in overtime on Saturday at the Sports Arena. It’s the second time this season that the teams played in overtime. The Blue Hens won both.

The Panthers (17-9,9-6) will play at James Madison on Tuesday.

The good

Josh Micheaux. Coach Ron Hunter said earlier this week that Micheaux was playing the best basketball of his career. He scored 26 points, more than any Georgia State player this season, before fouling out with less than a minute left in regulation. Unofficially, 23 of those points came on drives to the basket and the subsequent free throws. Hunter said he challenged Micheaux at halftime because he felt Delaware was playing tougher than his team was. He needed Micheaux, his toughest player, to step up. He scored eight points during a 17-0 run in the half.

Jihad Ali. He added 15 points and nine rebounds. His free throws sent the game into overtime. After Eric Buckner and Micheaux fouled out, Ali became the team’s post presence. He …

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