Georgia State Basketball: Panthers Face Texas State in Match-up of Top Sun Belt Teams Saturday

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. GSU has finished in the top two of the final regular season conference standings four times in the last five years.

• The Panthers are 66-29 in Sun Belt Conference regular season games since rejoining the league in 2013-14.

• Georgia State has won 14 straight games in the month of January dating back to 2016.

• Georgia State has won three-straight over Texas State and is 4-0 in San Marcos since 2013-14.

• Head coach Ron Hunter is 9-3 in games in Texas since taking over the Panthers in 2011-12.

• Georgia State’s 10-4 start is tied for the fourth-best 14-game start in program history.

• Georgia State won nine non-conference games, tied for the most in program history.

• Georgia State faced five opponents who competed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament in the first 11 games of the season. (Montana, St. Bonaventure, Creighton, Alabama, and No. 24 Kansas State) all away from home going 2-3.

• As of Jan. 3, Georgia State’s four losses have come to teams with a combined 41-15 record.

• Last time out, Georgia State opened Sun Belt play with a 63-58 win at UT Arlington.

• GSU has beaten two Power 5 opponents in one season for the second time in program history (Georgia and Alabama). In the 2000-01 season, GSU topped Georgia to open the season then defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament. Those wins are the only two P5 wins for Sun Belt schools this season.

• Georgia State’s 21-point halftime comeback over Alabama (Dec. 4) is tied for the 12th-largest halftime comeback in NCAA history.

• 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 (120) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.

• Junior D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 18.0 points per game for his career which currently ranks No. 17 among all active NCAA players and is tops in the Sun Belt. He has made 512 career field goals which is No. 46 among all active players and the No. 2 junior in the country.

• 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 173 3-pointers in his career, sixth 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).

• 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.

 

­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 4, 2018
Contact: Mike Holmes
Phone: (404) 413-4033
E-mail:
rholmes@gsu.edu

 

Georgia State Faces Texas State in Match-up of Top Sun Belt Teams Saturday

ATLANTA-Looking to win a 15th-straight game in the month of January, Georgia State will travel to face Texas State on Saturday afternoon at Strahan Arena at 5 p.m. ET.

Georgia State (10-4, 1-0 Sun Belt) has not lost a game in the month of January since 2017, but will face a Texas State (12-2, 1-0 Sun Belt) team that finished with more non-conference wins than any other program in the league this season.

The Panthers have won three-straight over the Bobcats and are 4-0 in San Marcos since rejoining the Sun Belt for the 2013-14 season.

Saturday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 with Dave Cohen, now in his 36th year as the Voice of the Panthers, calling the action. The game will also air live on ESPN+ with Brant Freeman and Cordell Patrick calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.

“We got off to a good start on Thursday night with a win in Arlington, but we quickly need to turn our attention to a very good Texas State team,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “They are playing some very good defense, but we have shown we can do the same. We have had some good battles with them over the years and I expect no different on Saturday.”

Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is sixth in the league averaging 19.4 points per game which also ranks No. 59 in the NCAA. He stands in fourth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,402 points after moving ahead of Devonta White on Thursday night. His career scoring averaging of 18.0 points per game ranks No. 17 among all active NCAA players.

Including Simonds, all five Georgia State starters are also averaging in double figures in points.

Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a team-high 32 3-pointers, is averaging 12.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest and currently stands fifth in program history with 173 3-pointers.

Senior Devin Mitchell, who missed the first seven games of the season due to injury, is averaging 11.9 points per game and has knocked down 24-of-47 3-pointers in the last six games. Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up and is averaging 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game while ranking No. 38 in the nation in steals with 2.14 per contest.

Georgia State has made 132 3-pointers this season, an average of 9.4 per game which ranks second in the Sun Belt and No. 45 in the NCAA. The Panthers have made 14 or more 3-pointers in a game three times this season.

Georgia State enters play averaging 9.0 steals per game, No. 1 in the Sun Belt and 20th in the NCAA. Williams ranks third in the Sun Belt averaging 2.14 steals per game, which is No. 38 in the nation. The Panthers’ 4.9 blocks per game average is first in the league and No. 30 in the nation.

Notes:

  • Georgia State has won five of its last six games.
  • Since head coach Ron Hunter’s arrival, the Panthers are 9-3 in games played in Texas.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (120) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
  • Georgia State’s last lost in the month of January came at home against Troy on Jan. 9, 2017.

Following Saturday’s game, Georgia will return home to face Sun Belt foe Louisiana on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. Tickets can be purchased by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.

www.GeorgiaStateSports.com

 

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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