[PREVIEW] Nothing will come easy for Mason as pesky Panthers aim to spoil homecoming

Mason students raise their hands as a player shoots a free throw (Photo by John Irwin).
Mason students raise their hands as a player shoots a free throw (Photo by John Irwin).

Though the George Mason men's basketball team has seen its share of highs and lows during this season, the annual homecoming game tends to work in the Patriots' favor. The packed Patriot Center gives the home team an essential advantage, making the venue one of the most home-friendly atmospheres in the Colonial Athletic Association. 

Georgia State, in its last season in the CAA, is ineligible for the conference tournament but can still make a final impression on the conference by knocking some teams down a peg. In their past ten contests, the Panthers are 7-3, including a tough win against conference leader Northeastern. They have three players averaging double figures in scoring, which should give the Patriots all they can handle. 

Key Returners

Devonta White -- Junior -- Guard

14.5 ppg. -- 3.9 apg. -- 2.9 rbg. -- 42 percent FG -- 44 steals 

After leading the Panthers in scoring last season, White has been overtaken by freshman R.J. Hunter as the team's leading scorer. But, his personal production has increased, jumping from 12.9 points per game to 14.5 ppg. this season. White is a speedster on the court and a terrific floor general at the point guard slot. 

Manny Atkins -- RS Junior -- Forward

14.3 ppg. -- 6.2 rpg. -- 2.3 apg. -- 42 percent FG -- 43 percent 3-PT 

After transferring to GSU from Virginia Tech, Atkins has improved exponentially in nearly every offensive category. At 6'7", Atkins is a physical specimen who can score in the paint and can widen his shooting range out to the perimeter, shooting 43 percent from three. He can provide matchup problems for the Patriots who will be forced to close out on him on the outside. 

New Additions 

R.J. Hunter -- Freshman -- Guard

17.6 ppg. -- 5.5 rbg. -- 44 percent FG -- 38 percent 3-PT -- 46 steals  

Son of coach Ron Hunter, R.J. leads the Panthers in scoring (17.6 points per game) and steals (46) as a freshman. Hunter is extremely versatile with an innate ability to create his own shot and defend at multiple positions. However, a sold-out and raucous Patriot Center crowd may rattle the young guard. 

No votes yet
Student Media Group: