Georgia State Basketball: Panthers Face Montana Friday in Match-up of 2018 NCAA Tournament Teams

Game Notes attached

 

Quick Notes

• Georgia State made its second NCAA Tournament in the last four years in 2018 and returns four of five starters from the 2017-18 squad.

• With the win over ETSU, Georgia State improved to 8-0 in regular season home openers under Ron Hunter and have won 10-straight openers in the GSU Sports Arena.

• GSU has won six-straight season openers with the last loss come at Duke to open the 2012-13 season.

• In the Panthers opening night win, senior Jeff Thomas scored a career-high 26 points, while senior Malik Benlivi earned his sixth career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

• Georgia State is currently ranked No. 12 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. Friday’s opponent Montana is currently ranked No. 16.

• The Panthers are looking to improve to 2-0 for the third time in four years on Friday night.

• Tonight’s game is the first of a minimum of four against NCAA Tournament opponents from last season. That total could increase to as many as six based on opponents in the Cayman Islands Classic. Last year, Montana was a No. 14 seed in the tournament, while GSU was a No. 15 seed.

• This marks the third time GSU and Montana have met. This will mark the Panthers second trip to Missoula with the last coming in 1984 as part of the Champion Holiday Classic.

• Since returning to the Sun Belt in 2013-14, Georgia State has finished in the top two of the final regular season conference standings four times.

• Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Georgia State has won more games (111) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia. No other program has even 100 wins.

• Junior D’Marcus Simonds was named the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year after earning AP All-America Honorable Mention recognition last season.

• Senior Devin Mitchell knocked down 98 3-pointers last season, second-most in school history and just two shy of current Atlanta Hawks G-League star R.J. Hunter’s record.

• Jeff Thomas has made 147 3-pointers in his career, ranked No. 8 on GSU’s all-time list for treys.

• GSU is one of just 11 programs in the country to feature two assistant coaches who have NCAA D1 head coach experience (McCallum – Ball State/Houston/Detroit and Williams – Tennessee State).

• Georgia State’s 3-point field goal percentage (38.5) last season was the best mark in school history, while the 323 3-pointers made broke the school record of 276 and set a new Sun Belt record.

• GSU was one of just 13 schools in the country to win a bowl game and advance to the NCAA Tournament last year. Only three schools (GSU, Marshall and New Mexico State) are non-Power 5 programs.

 

­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 8, 2018
Contact: Mike Holmes
Phone: (404) 413-4033
E-mail: rholmes@gsu.edu

Georgia State Faces Montana Friday in Match-up of 2018 NCAA Tournament Teams

ATLANTA-Facing the first of a minimum four 2018 NCAA Tournament teams this season, Georgia State will travel more than halfway across the country to face Montana on Friday night at 9 p.m. ET, at Dahlberg Arena.

Georgia State (1-0) and Montana (0-0), considered two of the top mid-major programs in the country, met last season in Atlanta in the first of a home-and-home series. The Panthers earned a 71-68 victory in that game as Jeff Thomas just missed a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds.

It was Thomas who opened the 2018-19 season with a career-high 26 points on Tuesday night as the Panthers topped East Tennessee State 74-68 in the GSU Sports Arena.

Friday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Sam Crenshaw calling the action. The game will also air live on SWX Montana and Pluto TV with Shaun Rainey and Ryan Tootell calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices. 

Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year D’Marcus Simonds opened the season with 21 points on Tuesday night moving him into 14th place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list. He needs just 25 points on Friday to move into a tie for 13th.

Thomas, who is currently No. 8 in school history with 147 3-pointers, will play in his 100th career game on Friday night. He could set the school’s games played record by the end of the season.

“After a hard-fought win on Tuesday night, we turn right around with an equally if not tougher opponent on Friday night,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Montana is a very good team and could be the second-straight opponent we play that makes the NCAA Tournament this year. I feel like some of our guys had some first game jitters on Tuesday, but we should be over those and ready to play.”

Georgia State has gone 148-85 in Hunter’s seven-plus seasons, the most wins during any seven-year stretch in program history. He was inducted into the Miami University Cradle of Coaches last month.

Notes:

  • The Panthers improved to 8-0 in regular season home openers under head coach Ron Hunter and have won 11-straight openers in the GSU Sports Arena.
  • The Panthers are looking to improve to 2-0 for the third time in four seasons.
  • Georgia State is currently ranked No. 12 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, while Montana is No. 16.
  • This will be the third meeting between the two schools with each winning on its home court.
  • Since returning to the Sun Belt Conference for the 2013-14 season, Georgia State has finished in the top two in the Sun Belt standings four times in five years.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 111 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.

Following Friday night’s game, Georgia State will return home to face in-state rival Mercer on Tuesday at the GSU Sports Arena at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 404-413-4020 or by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.

 

 

 

MIKE HOLMES | Associate Athletic Director – Sports Communications | Georgia State University
Georgia State Stadium, 755 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta, GA 30315
| Office: (404) 413-4033 | Cell: (404) 259-9716

GeorgiaStateSports.com | Twitter: @GSUPanthers

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