JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) - The Arkansas State University men's basketball team, which has won five of its last six contests, will be on the road this Thursday (Jan. 16) as the Red Wolves (10-5, 3-1 SBC) visit first-place and conference newcomer Georgia State (10-6, 3-0 SBC) in Sun Belt Conference (SBC) play in Atlanta, Ga. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) at the GSU Sports Arena.
A pair of seniors, forward Kirk Van Slyke and guard Ed Townsel each registered a double-double to lead A-State to a 72-60 league home victory over South Alabama last Saturday (Jan. 11) night in Sun Belt Network televised game at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark. Van Slyke registered game highs in both points (21) and rebounds (14) while Townsel added 12 points while grabbing a career-best 10 rebounds in the win. Senior guard Melvin Johnson III tossed in 12 points off the bench.
A-STATE/GEORGIA STATE HISTORY
• Tied at 1-1 in the all-time series. A-State is 0-1 at home, 1-0 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites.
• First Meeting – Georgia State 72, at A-State 57 - (12/9/95)
• Last Meeting – A-State 74, at Georgia State 67 - (12/19/95)
• Last A-State win – A-State 74, at Georgia State 67 - (12/19/95)
• Last Georgia State win – Georgia State 72, at A-State 57 - (12/9/95)
• Last A-State win at Georgia State – A-State 74, at Georgia State 67 - (12/19/95)
• Last Georgia State win at home – Not Applicable
• Current Streak – A-State, Won 1
• Notes – A-State faced Georgia State twice in the 1995-96 season with a home-and-home series ... The Red Wolves claimed a 72-57 victory at GSU in the first-ever meeting between the two schools (12/9/95) before the Panthers posted a 74-67 decision in Jonesboro (12/19/95) ... A-State is averaging 65.5 points per game (131 pts.) while Georgia State has posted a 69.5 points a contest average (139 pts.) in the series.
SCOUTING GEORGIA STATE
• Georgia State has won eight of its last nine contests and is midst a seven-game winning streak with the lone setback being a 75-65 overtime loss at Southern Mississippi (12/7). The Panthers are 5-0 at home, 4-5 on the road, and 1-1 at neutral sites this season.
• Junior guard Ryan Harrow (18.6 ppg.), sophomore guard R.J. Hunter (18.4 ppg.), and senior forward Manny Atkins (13.7 ppg.) are Georgia State's scoring leaders as the three have combined to generate 64.8 percent (812-1,254) of the team's points production. Junior forward Curtis Washington and senior forward Manny Atkins lead the Panthers in rebounding with 6.3 rpg. and 5.8 rpg. averages, respectively. Washington also leads GSU with 46 blocked shots and is averaging 2.9 per contest.
• Manny Atkins (18 pts.) and Curtis Washington (16 pts. & 10 rebs.) lead GSU in its 77-54 league win at Western Kentucky last Thursday (1/9).
• GSU is second among the nation's top statistical leaders in turnovers per game (8.8 avg.) and third in free throw pct. (77.7%) thru Jan. 12 games. The Panthers are fifth in fewest turnovers (140), seventh in turnover margin (5.5 avg.), 14th in assist turnover ratio (1.56 avg.), 52nd in scoring offense (78.4 ppg.), 90th in scoring margin (7.1), and 203rd in scoring defense (71.3 ppg.). R.J. Hunter is 14th in free throw percentage (89.9%) and 26th in three-point field goals made per game (3.0 avg.) while Curtis Washington is 20th in total blocks (46) and 25th in blocks shots per game (2.88 avg.).
• Georgia State compiled a 15-16 overall record for the 2012-13 season and was 10-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The Panthers went 9-7 at home and 6-9 on the road a season ago.
• Head coach Ron Hunter is midst his third season at GSU and was named to his current position in March 2011. In his first season (2011-12), Hunter led GSU to a program second-most 22 victories and a berth into the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament en route to being tabbed the Atlanta Tip-off Club Georgia Coach of the Year. Prior to GSU, Hunter spent 17 seasons (1994-11) as head coach at IUPUI where he com piled a 274-219 record and was honored twice (2003 and 2006) as the Summit League Coach of the Year. He served six seasons (1987-93) as an assistant at UW-Milwaukee and one season (1993-94) at his alma mater Miami (Ohio). As a player (1982-86) at Miami (Ohio), Hunter was a member of two Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship teams and three straight NCAA Tournament participants.
SUN BELT CONFERENCE GAMES
• The Red Wolves are 186-182 (.505) since joining the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in the 1991-92 season, which includes a season-best 14-4 (.778) mark in the 1997-98 campaign.
• A-State sports a 45-19 (.703) record at home and is 19-20 (.487) on the road since the 2006-07 season.
• A-State head coach John Brady has registered a 48-44 record (.522) in Sun Belt Conference contests since his arrival in the 2008-09 season, which consists of a 33-12 home ledger and a 15-32 away mark.
• A-State posted a first-place 12-8 SBC West Division mark in the 2012-13 season – 9-1 at home and 3-7on the road.
• Kirk Van Slyke has scored double-figure points in 14 of A-State's 15 games this season. Van Slyke began the 2013-14 season with a six-game double-digit scoring streak and averaged 15.7 ppg. (94 pts.) during that span. He has netted double digits in his last eight contests and is averaging 16.1 ppg. (129 pts.) while making 58.7 percent (54-92) of his shots from the floor. Van Slyke tallied nine points against Niagara (12/2) in his lone non double-figure scoring game.
• Kirk Van Slyke and Ed Townsel both recorded a double-double in A-State's 72-60 conference home win over South Alabama last Saturday (1/11). Van Slyke tallied game highs in both points (21) and rebounds (14) while Townsel scored 12 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds in a starting capacity. Van Slyke notched a double-double earlier this season (1/2) at UT Arlington with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior forward Kendrick Washington netted 10 points and grabbed 12 boards in the Red Wolves' conference-opening triumph at UT Arlington.
NEARING A MILESTONE
• Ed Townsel is 20 points shy of scoring his 1,000th career point at A-State and in doing sowould become the 26th player in the program's history to accomplish the feat. Townsel, who has compiled 980 career points in 112 games for an 8.8 career points per game average, is now 33 points shy of tying Jabari Myles (1994-98; 1,013 career points) for 25th place among the program's all-time leaders. Townsel is also one steal from tying Kim Adams (2001-04; 151 career steals) for fourth place on A-State's all-time list and has accumulated 150 career thefts to date.