Game Notes attached
• 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.
• GSU will face five 2018 NCAA Tournament teams this season. GSU has already faced Montana, St. Bonaventure, and Creighton. GSU also has games at Alabama (Tues.) and Kansas State on the list.
• This will mark the second SEC opponent GSU faces early in the season. The Panthers already have a 91-67 victory over in-state foe Georgia while down in the Cayman Islands.
• The Panthers have five wins all-time against SEC programs, but are 0-2 all-time against Alabama.
• Only once before has Georgia State beaten two Power 5 opponents in one season. In the 2000-01 season, GSU topped Georgia to open the season then defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.
• Georgia State will conclude a six-game stretch away from home on Tuesday. The Panthers are 3-2 on the trip away from the GSU Sports Arena.
• Senior Devin Mitchell will be returning “home” as he played his freshman season at Alabama.
• Last time out, D’Marcus Simonds score 22 points and dished out five assists, but the Panthers went an uncharacteristic 2-of-16 from 3-point range and fell at Liberty 78-52.
• Over the last 10 months, three Panthers have made at least eight 3-pointers in a game. Malik Benlevi knocked down eight against UGA last week, while Jeff Thomas did it against Mercer earlier this year. Last season, Devin Mitchell made 10 3-pointers at Little Rock.
• Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Georgia State has won more games (115) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.
• 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.
• D’Marcus Simonds was named the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year after earning AP All-America Honorable Mention last season. He earned Sun Belt Player of the Week honors on Nov. 12.
• Jeff Thomas has made 161 3-pointers in his career, seventh on GSU’s all-time.
• GSU is one of just 13 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).
• 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 St.) were non-Power 5 programs.
• Head coach Ron Hunter, Georgia State’s all-time leader in wins, earned the 150th win of his career at GSU in the opening game of the Cayman Islands Classic against St. Bonaventure.
• Hunter has led the Panthers to four of the seven most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons and 24 wins last year.
Georgia State Faces Road Challenge at Alabama Tuesday
ATLANTA-Looking for a second win over a Power 5 opponent early in the season, Georgia State will close a stretch of six-straight road games at Alabama on Tuesday night. Tip is set for 8 p.m. ET at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Georgia State (5-3) is looking to earn multiple wins over Power 5 programs for the second time in program history. The last time was the 2000-01 season in which the Panthers opened the season with a win over Georgia and then defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers knocked off Georgia 91-67 in the Cayman Islands Classic two weeks ago.
The Panthers will face Alabama (5-2) for just the third time in program history, but the second under head coach Ron Hunter, with the Crimson Tide winning each of those last two games.
Tuesday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Dave Cohen, now in his 36th year as the Voice of the Panthers, calling the action. The game will also air live on SEC Network+ with Roger Hoover and Wimp Sanderson on the call. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
Tuesday will also mark a homecoming of sorts for senior Devin Mitchell who played his freshman season at Alabama. A highly-recruited guard out of Lawrenceville, Ga., Mitchell returned to Atlanta after one season and has flourished with the Panthers. Last season he knocked down 98 3-pointers, second most in school history, while shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc.
“After a tough loss on Saturday, our guys are excited to be able to get right back out on the court to face a very good Alabama squad,” Hunter said. “We have had a couple of really good practices since we got back and I have no doubt that this team will rise up to the challenge on Tuesday.”
Junior D’Marcus Simonds, who is tied for first in the Sun Belt Conference averaging 21.6 points per game, has moved into sixth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,303 points. He is currently on pace to break R.J. Hunter’s school record of 1,819 career points by the end of the season.
Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is 31st in the nation in scoring while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor.
Seniors Malik Benlevi and Jeff Thomas are also averaging in double figures. Benlevi, who has knocked down 14 3-pointers in the last three games, is averaging 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Thomas is adding 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest and currently stands seventh in program history with 161 3-pointers.
Georgia State enters play averaging 8.5 steals per game, No. 1 in the Sun Belt and 38th in the NCAA. Benlevi, along with sophomore Kane Williams rank among the top three in the conference in steals. The Panthers 5.4 blocks per game average is first in the league and No. 29 in the nation.
Following Tuesday’s game, Georgia State will return home to face Chattanooga on Dec. 12. Tickets are available by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix or by calling 404-413-4020.
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