Georgia State will host ECU on Monday

Georgia State will try to win its fourth consecutive game when it East Carolina at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sports Arena.

The Panthers (3-2) are 16-3 at home at “Hunterville” since coach Ron Hunter took over the program before the 2011-12 season.

“When I got to Georgia State, I made it publicly known that I wanted to make the Sports Arena one of the toughest places to play,” Hunter said in a statement given to the media. “To be successful in college basketball, you have to defend the home court and split on the road. So far we have been able to do that.

“I think one of the reasons we have been able to gain some success at home has been our crowds. They have been loud and really given us a great home court advantage.”

Georgia State is asking fans to wear white to the game.

The Panthers will host Louisiana Tech on 7 p.m. Friday to finish the five-game homestand.

East Carolina will be a tough test for the Panthers. The Pirates are undefeated (4-0) and averaging 79.2 …

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Atkins sparks Georgia State to third consecutive win

By Stan Awtrey

For the AJC

Manny Atkins continues to find a way to contribute to Georgia State’s basketball success.

On Tuesday night he threw a half-court pass that led to Rashaad Richardson’s game-winning shot against Tennessee State. On Wednesday afternoon he discovered his shooting touch and scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Panthers to a 75-73 win over South Alabama in the final game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the GSU Sports Arena.

Georgia State (3-2) swept all three of its games in the tournament. The Panthers are off until Monday, when they host East Carolina at 7 p.m.

Atkins is a 6-foot-6 junior from Tucker who played his first two seasons at Virginia Tech before transferring to Georgia State. After scoring 21 points at BYU, Atkins scored only six in the next two games. But when his first two shots fell Wednesday, his confidence started to grow.

He wound up making eight of 11 from the floor, including five of six 3-pointers. He also led the team …

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Richardson’s buzzer-beater lifts GSU to victory

By Stan Awtrey

For the AJC

With two seconds showing on the clock and the ball at the wrong end of the court, Georgia State coach Ron Hunter called an old familiar play. Only this time it worked.

Georgia State’s Rashaad Richardson launched a well-defended jumper from just over the half-court line that miraculously went in to give the Panthers a 59-57 win over Tennessee State on Tuesday in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the GSU Sports Arena.

“I’ve probably run it 20 times, and we’ve never made it,” Hunter said.

He knows it works now, but only because he heard the crowd’s reaction. Hunter didn’t see the ball actually go in, but was pretty sure when he saw the court was flooded by GSU students and his players sprawled on top of each other in a dogpile. The next thing you now Richardson was being carried around on the shoulders of fans as Hunter pounded his fists in exultation on press row and howled with the fans.

Richardson, “That was pretty cool.”

Tennessee State took …

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Georgia State interested in Shane Beamer, according to report

Georgia State has expressed an interest in talking to Virginia Tech’s Shane Beamer about its football coaching job, his father Frank, told the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press earlier today. Beamer said that Georgia State hasn’t asked for permission to talk to Shane.

Shane Beamer is the associate head coach and running backs coach for the Hokies, where he’s been the past two seasons working for Frank, the Hokies’ longtime coach.

He declined to say Monday if he was going to interview, saying he was focused on Saturday’s game against Virginia.

Georgia State declined to comment because it’s an ongoing coaching search. A call to Beamer’s agent hasn’t been returned.

Beamer, 35, has worked all over the South after playing and graduating from Virginia Tech in 1999. He started as a graduate assistant in Georgia Tech in 2000, before moving to Tennessee in 2001, where he earned a master’s in sport science in 2003. He spent three seasons at Mississippi State, first coaching …

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Vincent, White lead GSU to first victory

Devonta White and James Vincent haven’t had the best starts to the season for Georgia State.

But Vincent tied a school record with nine blocks and White scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Panthers to a 62-49 victory in Monday’s home opener against Monmouth at the Sports Arena.

Afterward, coach Ron Hunter was more pleased with one than the other.

“We won for two reasons. No. 1, our defense carried us and the other was our big fella came to play,” Hunter said, slapping Vincent’s thigh.

The 6-10 Vincent, who has had issues with consistency, was too much for Monmouth’s front court, which didn’t feature a player taller than 6-9. He tied a record first set by Sylvester Morgan against Mercer in 2005. Georgia State finished with 13, one short of tying the school record set against Florida International last year. Partially because of Vincent, Georgia State’s defense limited the Hawks to 27.8 percent shooting.

Vincent, who finished with five points and eight …

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Albert Wilson shares CAA Special Teams Player of the Year Award

Georgia State’s Albert Wilson was named the Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association earlier today by the conference’s coaches.

Wilson led the conference with a kickoff return average of 25.9 yards to make the all-conference first team in that category. Wilson shared player-of-the-year honor with William and Mary’s B.W. Webb.

Wilson, a junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., was also named third-team all-conference as a wide receiver after catching 48 passes for 947 yards with seven touchdowns. He led the conference by averaging 164.5 all-purpose yards per game.

Matt Hubbard, a sophomore from Peachtree City, earned second-team all-conference honors after averaging 43.1 yards per punt.

Donald Russell was named third team after finishing with 747 rushing yards. He led the CAA before sustaining a season-ending knee injury against Villanova in the eighth game.

Former Collins Hill star Taylor Heinicke was named the CAA’s Offensive Player of the Year.

– …

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Georgia State preparing for first home hoops game

Georgia State, 0-2 after opening with the two toughest games it will likely play this year, will play its first home game when it hosts Monmouth at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sports Arena.

The game is part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, which will also feature Tennessee State (0-3) and South Alabama (2-0), who will face off at 4 p.m. Monday.

The Panthers will host Tennessee State, coached by former Georgia State player Travis Williams, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, before hosting South Alabama at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Georgia State is coming off losses at Duke and at BYU in which the offense had difficulties during stretches. The team is shooting 36.2 percent, including a dismal 22.2 percent from the 3-point arc. Defensively,  opponents are hitting 51.4 percent of their shots, including 43.2 percent of their 3-pointers.

The Panthers feature three scorers who are averaging at least 13 points per game in Devonta White (16.5), Manny Atkins (13) and R.J. Hunter (13), but no other player is …

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Georgia State holds football banquet

Georgia State held its football banquet Thursday and Donald Russell, Albert Wilson and Terrance Woodard were named the team’s most valuable players.

Russell, a senior, rushed for 747 yards before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Villanova.

Wilson, a junior, led the team in receiving with 947 yards, punt returns with 94 yards, and kick returns with 751 yards.

Woodard, a junior, was third on the team with 59 tackles despite playing most of the season with an injured ankle.

Russell, safety Kail Singleton and long-snapper Scott McQueen were named permanent team captains. Linebackers Akeen Felder and Mark Hogan were given scholar-athlete awards.

Jan-Mai Davidson and Nermin Delic were named the top scout players.

Running back Rosevelt Watson received the Magnanimitas Award. Magnanimitas is a Latin word meaning “greatness of spirit.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

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Georgia State’s coaching search continues … and who is on my list?

Things have been mostly quiet regarding Georgia State’s search for a football coach to replace Bill Curry.

Curry announced in August that he would retire from coaching after the season. The Panthers’ season ended last week.

Cheryl Levick hired Parker Executive Search to assist in the targeting and vetting of candidates (which also circumvents Open Records Requests laws).

Georgia State’s bye week came at the end of the season, meaning most FCS schools and FBS schools are still playing.

If Georgia State is searching for a coach who is currently employed, and my take is that’s a safe bet, then it’s doubtful that Levick and/or Parker have made contact with potential clients. Though I’m sure it happens, it’s not a good practice to contact coaches whose seasons aren’t finished.

Levick has said she hopes to make the hire sooner rather than later because the next coach has a lot of recruiting to do with the move to the Sun Belt happening next year. The team has nine …

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Wrapping up Georgia State’s football season and looking ahead to 2013

There were many reasons Georgia State’s football team slumped to a 1-10 record in 2012, according to Bill Curry, who retired from coaching after last week’s loss at Maine.

• Injuries wiped out the defensive line.

• Inexperienced quarterbacks.

• A spiritual disconnect.

All three combined to take what could have been a happy send-off for Curry and from the Colonial Athletic Association, instead turning it into a “what are we in for” dread with the team next year moving to the Sun Belt Conference, where the competition will be tougher.

Curry took the blame for the failures.

“Each of us can share responsibility but the head coach is primary,” he said.

The good news is just 12 players used up their eligibility, meaning the next coach, whom athletic director Cheryl Levick hopes to hire sooner rather than later, will inherit a roster that has gained a lot of experience. The bad news is the team’s record has gotten progressively worse, leading to questions of how …

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