The Georgia State Panthers kept their tournament dreams alive Saturday by cruising past the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the Sun Belt Semifinals. The Panthers have been the class of the Sun Belt this season with a 17-1 conference record. Georgia State aims to make their third appearance in the NCAA tournament where the team is 1-2, but can the Panthers close out a dominant conference season on Sunday and return to the tournament for the first time since 2001?
The Red Wolves’ hopes for an upset were dashed early as Georgia State commanded the game throughout as the Panthers handily defeated Arkansas State 72-45. Ryan Harrow and R.J. Hunter were the catalysts in the win that secured the Panthers a spot in the Sun Belt championship to face either the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers or Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. While Harrow scored a game-high 20 points, Hunter added 16 points and seven rebounds in the winning effort. The story of the game was the Panthers field goal shooting efficiency as the team shot 50 percent from the field in the game that was not as close as predicted.
This year, championship week has been a disaster for heavily-favored teams and top tournament seeds, but Georgia State hopes to buck that trend with a win on Sunday in the conference championship game. Georgia State hopes to go dancing for the first time in over a decade, but will the Panthers thrive or succumb to the pressure?
Georgia State is 4-0 against the team’s the Panthers could face in the championship, but the Panthers will be pulling for Western Kentucky in the other semifinal as they have defeated the Hilltoppers by 15-plus points twice while only slipping past the Ragin’ Cajuns in past meetings.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.