Panthers host Belmont for a Sunday matinee


THE TIP: Georgia State continues its eight-game season opener by hosting Belmont Sunday at 2 p.m. at the GSU Convocation Center.

> The Panthers (4-2) have won three of their last four games, including a 74-68 win over UNC Asheville last time out in game three of the Capitol Classic, despite playing without two injured starters.

> Sophomore guard Dwon Odom, Xavier’s transfer, is the Panthers’ top scorer at 18.3 ppg and second-best rebounder at 6.2. He is seventh in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring.

> The Panthers have been idle since last Sunday’s win against UNC Asheville when Odom posted a career-high 27 points. He played more than 39 minutes and hit 10 of 18 shots from the field and 7-to-7 at throwing line at large. He also contributed seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

> Odom was named the Capitol Classic’s most outstanding player for averaging 21 points and seven rebounds over the three games.

> Playing his first season in the Missouri Valley Conference, Belmont (3-3) has won two in a row. Guard Ben Shepard leads the Bruins with 21.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

charity case: Georgia State ranks 17th in D-1 free throw shooting with 78.9 percent.

> The Panthers have been even better in their last four games at .882 (60 to 58).

> Individually, Dwon Odom leads the Sun Belt in free throws taken and attempted. He is ranked No. 3 in the Sun Belt and No. 23 in the nation at 94.1 percent (32 to 34).

ENTRY: With two starters out through their last two games through injury, two Panthers stepped in to help Georgia State secure victories over Texas A&M-Commerce and UNC Asheville.

> Kalik Brooksthe former walk-on, who received a preseason scholarship, averaged 9.3 points in the three games of Capitol Classic, including a career-high 12 points in the win over UNC Asheville.

> Sophomore Danny Stubbs, who only played 18 minutes last season, had 16 points against Asheville. In the last minute, he hit 6 of 7 free throws to seal the win.

HOT takes on HUDSON: Sophomore forward Ja’Heim Hudson posted a career-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to tie his career in the Panthers’ two-point loss to Georgia Tech. He went 10-to-13 from the field and 4-to-5 from the free-throw line. Within five minutes of the second half, he scored 10 of GSU’s 12 points to help the Panthers build a seven-point lead.

> Hudson is the Panthers’ second-best scorer at 11.7 points per game while leading the team with 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game and a .558 field goal percentage.

ODOM IN THE COUPLING: Georgia State’s Dwon Odom scored 16 of his 21 points after halftime in the Panthers’ 85-83 overtime win over Mercer.

> The Panthers were 77-73 by less than a minute when Odom hit two free throws to reduce the deficit to two with 46 seconds left. He rebounded Mercer’s miss with 20 seconds left to set up his game-determining jumper with a second remaining to force overtime.

> Odom went 11-to-12 from the free-throw line, including 10-to-10 in the second half and in overtime.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Georgia State is making good use of its new home at the GSU Convocation Center as the Panthers open the season with eight straight home games. Georgia state’s first street game is scheduled for December 4th at the Northeastern.

> Eight games equals the longest streak of home games in program history, matching an eight-game streak in December/January of the 1983/84 season. Since then, the Panthers last played five home games in a row at the beginning of the 2005/06 season.

GSU vs BELMONT: Georgia State and Belmont are meeting for the first time since 2004-05, when both were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The last meeting was a 67-61 win by Belmont in the 2005 A-Sun tournament.

> The Bruins have won three straight games and lead the series 6-5. Georgia State’s last win was a 72-70 overtime win on February 28, 2004 in Nashville.

> Both teams have been to two different conferences since then. Georgia State moved to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2013-14 and then to the current Sun Belt Conference. Belmont made a stop at the Ohio Valley Conference before joining the Missouri Valley this year.

NEW ERA: First-year head coach Jonas Hayes inherits a Georgia State program that will walk off as the Sun Belt Conference champion at the 2022 NCAA tournament and is the most successful program at the conference and Georgia State in the past decade.

> The Atlanta native grew up just minutes from the Georgia State campus and played at Douglass High School and then the University of Georgia.

> Hayes has spent the last four seasons at Xavier, first as an assistant coach and then as interim head coach. He was elevated on March 16, 2022 and led the Musketeers to four straight victories by defeating Florida, Vanderbilt and St. Bonaventure before beating Texas A&M 73-72 in the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden.

PRIDE OF THE PEACH STATE: Georgia State has been Georgia’s most successful Division I college basketball team since the 2011-12 season.

> Since the beginning of 2011-12, Georgia State has won 64 percent of its games with a record of 228-127.

> Georgia State’s 228 wins surpass Mercer, the state’s second-best team with 214 wins and a .571 win ratio during that period.

> The Panthers also easily overtake Georgia Southern (189), Georgia (179), Georgia Tech (173) and Kennesaw State (86).

> Georgia State has made four NCAA tournament appearances in the past decade; The other five Division I programs have combined for three NCAA appearances during this period (Georgia-1, Georgia Tech-1, Mercer-1).