Game Notes attached
• 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 67-29 in Sun Belt Conference regular season games since rejoining the league in 2013-14.
• Georgia State has won 15-straight games in the month of January dating back to 2016.
• GSU has won 5-straight and 7-of-8 over Louisiana including a 106-92 win in the GSU Sports Arena last year.
• Head coach Ron Hunter is 73-17 in home games since his arrival and 63-10 in the last five-plus season.
• Georgia State’s 11-4 start is tied for the second-best 15-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. 7, Georgia State’s four losses have come to teams with a combined 42-18 record.
• Last time out, Georgia State topped Texas State 73-69 in San Marcos to open Sun Belt play 2-0 for the first time since the 2014-15 season (which ended in the NCAA Tournament).
• 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 11 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 (121) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.
• Junior D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 17.8 points per game for his career which currently ranks No. 18 among all active NCAA players and is tops in the Sun Belt. He has made 516 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.
Georgia State Hosts Rival Louisiana Thursday
ATLANTA-After an impressive road trip sweep to open conference play, Georgia State will host Sun Belt Conference rival Louisiana on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena looking for a 16th-straight win in the month of January.
Georgia State (11-4, 2-0 Sun Belt) has not lost a game in the month of January since 2017 and welcomes Louisiana (10-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) whom the Panthers have defeated five straight times and seven of the last eight.
The Panthers enter playing having won four straight and six of eight, to go along with a six-game home court winning streak dating back to last year.
Thursday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 with Dave Cohen, now in his 36th year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by former Panther Lamont McIntosh calling the action. The game will also air live on ESPN+ with Sam Crenshaw and Rodney Turner calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
All five Georgia State starters are currently averaging in double figures, while defensively the Panthers rank No. 26 in the NCAA in steals and No. 27 in blocked shots.
“It was great to get a road sweep to start Sun Belt play, but it is even more important to hold-serve at home,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “As always, Louisiana is one of the best teams in the league and they will come in here hungry for a road win. We need to continue to play excellent defensive while getting our offense going which struggled at times last weekend.”
Since returning from injury, senior Devin Mitchell has showed why he is one of the best shooters in the country. After missing the first seven games, Mitchell has returned to average 12.4 points per game while shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range, making just under four per contest.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is sixth in the league averaging 18.6 points per game. He stands in fourth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,409 points after moving ahead of Devonta White last week. His career scoring averaging of 17.8 points per game ranks No. 18 among all active NCAA players.
Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a team-high 37 3-pointers, is averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, shooting 42.0 from beyond the arc. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest and currently stands fifth in program history with 173 3-pointers. Last time out he moved into the top 25 on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 935 points.
Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up and is averaging 10.5 points and 3.6 assists per game while ranking No. 49 in the nation in steals with 2.0 per contest.
Georgia State has made 141 3-pointers this season, an average of 9.4 per game which ranks second in the Sun Belt and No. 47 in the NCAA after setting and school and conference record with 323 last season. The Panthers have made 14 or more 3-pointers in a game three times this season.
Following Thursday’s game, Georgia State will remain at home to face Sun Belt foe UL Monroe on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. Tickets can be purchased by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.
MIKE HOLMES | Associate Athletic Director – Sports Communications | Georgia State University
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