Its alreadymid-February, so of course that means conference tournaments for collegebasketball are just a couple weeks away. CSS will be leading you all the way upto March, and theyll provide the coverage of two more mens basketball gamesthis Saturday.Georgia State (13-14) at George Mason (15-10) 4:00p.m.The Georgia StatePanthers sit at 8-6 in Colonial Conference play as they get set to begin athree-game road trip. With just one senior on the roster, this young squadcontinues to rely on one of the premiere freshmen in the nation. If youre notfamiliar with the name R.J. Hunter, its probably time you two get acquainted.Hunter, son of headcoach Ron Hunter, is averaging 17.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, leadingthe CAA by far in the running for Rookie of the Year. He poured on 38 pointsagainst Old Dominion on Feb. 2, shooting a ridiculous 10 of 15 from beyond thearc. With 65 three-pointers on the season, Hunter is now in the top 10 for mostmade in a single year at Georgia State.As a team the Panthersshoot 36.1 percent from downtown, ranking 71st in the nation. But, as the oldadage proclaims, you live by the three, you die by the three. Georgia State hitjust 8 of 24 three-point attempts in its Feb. 9 overtime loss to Towson. ThePanthers need to Hunter and the crew to stay sharp from distance to come awaywith a road win on Saturday.George Mason has a starof its own to boast about. Junior guard Sherrod Wright is averaging 17.2 pointsand 5.2 rebounds a game, almost identical to Hunters numbers. Wrights recentperformances have been lackluster, though. After scoring 22 on James Madison atthe beginning of February, hes chipped in just 32 points total in his lastthree games.The Patriots shot 47.8percent from the floor in their last win against the Drexel Dragons onValentines Day. Getting to the free throw line 25 times aided them in their68-62 victory as well. Attacking the paint will have to be a priority,especially if Wright stays quiet again.North Texas (9-18) at Troy (11-15) 8:30 p.m.The Mean Greens mosttalented team ever isnt enjoying Sun Belt play in 2013. North Texasrecently endured a five-game losing streak, and now sits at 1-6 since Jan. 24. Asthe team continues to adapt to first-year head coach Tony Benfordsfaster-paced offense, weve seen plenty of growing pains throughout the season.Weve also seenphysical pain as well. North Texas lost starting point guard Chris Jones to abroken foot back in January. Guard Alzee Williams was out for a brief stint witha sprained knee. Forward Tony Mitchell sported a walking boot recently. Theentire combination of a new system and injuries hasnt led to much success.That being said, NorthTexas has five players on the roster averaging double-digit points right now.Jordan Williams leads the way with 13.7 per game. Troy ranks 244th in thenation in rebounding. If North Texas wants any chance of winning, it will haveto win down on the boards.The Trojans played amistake-free game for the most part in their Valentines Day win over FloridaInternational, committing just seven turnovers and nine total fouls. They alsoshot 49 percent from the floor, possibly one of the reasons they walked awaywith an eight-point victory.Troy struggles shootingthe ball on a nightly basis, though. It ranks 311th (no, thats not a misprint)in the nation with a 40 percent shooting average on the year. Senior Emil Jonesis really stepping up as of late, scoring 18.7 points per game in his lastthree outings. If he can repeat his recent success, Troy should be in goodshape.
CSS Basketball Preview: R.J. Hunter takes stage against George Mason
February 15, 2013, 3:55 pm