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Georgia State (2-1) at Alabama (2-1)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 19, 8 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,383) -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 1-0, Alabama 2-0. Away Record: GSU 0-1, Alabama 0-0. Neutral Record: GSU 1-0, Alabama 0-1. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, Alabama 0-0. Series Record: Alabama leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia State Panthers will meet at Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night in the South Regional final of the NIT Season Tip-Off, with the winner advancing to the semifinal round next week at New York's famed Madison Square Garden.

Georgia State came into this season as one of the favorites in the Sun Belt Conference and has backed up those claims with a 2-1 start, which includes a 96-70 win against McNeese State on Monday night to advance in this event. The Panthers had an outstanding shooting night in the triumph. Not only did they drain 55.6 percent of their field goal attempts (including 10-of-19 from the 3-point range), but they cashed in at the foul line as well by going 16-of-20. Devonta White and R.J. Hunter led the way with 18 points apiece, with Hunter stuffing the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal as well. Rashaad Richardson shot 5-of-7 from beyond the arc for 15 points off the bench, while Manny Atkins and Ryan Harrow each netted 12 points.

Alabama, the host squad for the South Regional, opened up the season by splitting a pair of games against Big 12 Conference opponents, losing its opener to Oklahoma (82-73) before winning its home debut against Texas Tech (76-64). The Tide pulled to 2-1 after they easily dismissed their opening- round foe Stillman College, 102-65. The home team had no problems putting up points against its Division II challenger, as it drained nearly 59 percent of its field goal attempts and created extra possessions by forcing 22 turnovers. Pacing six players in double figures was Levi Randolph with 17 points. Retin Obasohan netted 15, Nick Jacobs had 13, Algie Key and Trevor Releford poured in 12 points apiece, and Carl Engstorm rounded out the balanced effort with 11 points and eight boards.

The Tide won the only previous meeting with Georgia State, 85-58, in December of 2005.

The Panthers have been potent offensive team in the early going, as they shoot field goals at 48.4 percent efficiency in putting up 91.0 points per game. Hunter pours in 22.0 points per game thanks largely to his prowess from 3- point range (11-of-27) and he rips down 6.7 rebounds per contest as well. Ryan Harrow has shined in his debut season with GSU after transferring from Kentucky, scoring 19.7 points per game while boasting a strong assist-to- turnover ratio (14-4). White (14.3 ppg), Atkins (10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Curtis Washington (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.7 bpg) round out an outstanding starting lineup.

The Crimson Tide's offensive explosion in the opening round has skewed their early-season numbers on the high side, as they are averaging 83.7 points per game while draining greater than 53 percent of their field goal attempts. Releford expects to be one of the top guards in the SEC this season, and he is off to a great start with 17.6 points per game, while Obasohan (14.7 ppg), Randolph (11.7 ppg) and Key (11.3 ppg) have also been solid contributors in the backcourt. Rodney Cooper, the only starting forward, averages 7.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per tilt.

Georgia State is undoubtedly a talented squad, but it has yet to face a team as strong defensively out on the perimeter as Alabama, which has already logged 23 steals. It should be a close battle, but expect the Tide to defend their home court and punch their ticket to the semifinals in New York City next week.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 71, Georgia State 68

11/19 10:55:03 ET

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