GAMEDAY: Tops @ Panthers


Jabin Botsford – College Heights Herald

Well…the day has come…the final outing of the 2013-2014 regular season is upon us and it is hard to believe. It seems just like yesterday I was up watching the Tops at 2 AM for the ESPN Tip-off Marathon. But now 4 months and 30 games later we find ourselves at the end of the schedule with another tough match up…and if the Hilltoppers play anything like they did Thursday night…we hope to not see the massacre that took place between these two squads in Diddle.

Georgia State was relentless and brutal in their play as they beat WKU by 23 points with ease. Today could be a different story if the Tops stay focused and attack hard like they did against ULL.

The Panthers have featured a guard play that is best in the SBC all season long…and that doesn’t look to stop this afternoon. R.J. Hunter (18.8 PPG; 4.6 RPG), Ryan Harrow (17.1 PPG; 2.5 RPG; 4.5 APG), and Devonta White (11.6 PPG; 2.6 RPG; 4.5 APG) have all come together to be offensive machines that are lethal at any moment. Another dynamic this squad has is forward Manny Atkins…he is averaging 14.8 PPG as well as 6.2 RPG. He has been on here of late, especially this past Tuesday at A-State where he put down 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

GSU has only lost one game in the SBC, that loss coming at Troy. The Panthers are on a 6 game winning streak since that loss…and have only had two close match ups…those games were against ULL and A-State and GSU won those games by 3 points.

Now for WKU! We saw the Hilltopper team we all knew they could be Thursday as they took down ULL.The Tops were playing physical and focused…maintaining confidence with their shots and were able to keep the Cajuns just behind them. This afternoon…the Tops will have to do the same thing. They will need to keep their defense spectacular as well as capitalizing on every turnover, offensive board, and free throw opportunity.

The leaders of WKU will need to be visible in order to get the other guys going. Today will be another game where we will need a true TEAM effort. Like I said with the ULL…the Tops have played the best and won the most when they play as a team and have just average contributions from everyone.

As for the WKU starters, I think Harper will put the most lethal offensive weapons the Tops have on the court. Those players being CHDTrency JacksonT.J. Price, O’Karo Akamune and George Fant.

Overall, the Tops just need to play like they did against ULL in order to get the win. There isn’t anymore key points that should be given other than that. This match up today could very well be the same game as the SBC tourney Championship…thus making today a very fun pre-tournament teaser! The Game tips off in Atlanta here shortly at 1:30! The game will be televised on ESPN 3 and regionally on WKU PBS in the Bowling Green area. Don’t miss out on the Hilltoppers final regular season game! Stand Up and Cheer!