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.
• Coaches and staff will wear suits and sneakers on Saturday as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer initative.
• Georgia State and UT Arlington are tied for second place in the Sun Belt at 5-2. The Panthers topped the Mavericks 63-58 in Arlington earlier this month.
• Georgia State is currently ranked No. 20 in the CollegeInsider Mid-Major Top 25.
• The Panthers are 70-31 in Sun Belt Conference regular season games since rejoining the league in 2013-14.
• Georgia State is 13-0 when leading at the half this season, among the top 5 most wins at the half in the country without a loss.
• Georgia State had its 7-game winning streak snapped by Troy last Saturday. It was tied for the 7th-longest winning streak in program history.
• Georgia State’s 14-6 start is the tied for the second-best 20-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.
• GSU has beaten two Power 5 opponents in one season for the second time in program history (Georgia and Alabama). Those wins are the only two P5 wins for Sun Belt schools this season.
• GSU’s 21-point halftime comeback at Alabama 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 (11/21), while Jeff Thomas did it against Mercer (11/13) earlier this year. Last season, Devin Mitchell made 10 3-pointers at Little Rock.
• Since the 2013-14 season, GSU has won more games (124) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.
• Junior D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 18.1 points per game for his career which currently ranks No. 14 among all active NCAA players and is tops in the Sun Belt. He has made 557 career field goals which is No. 39 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 (185/4th), Devin Mitchell (182/5th) and Malik Benlevi (152/10th) all rank among Georgia State career top 10 in 3-point field goals made.
• 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 UT Arlington Saturday at GSU Sports Arena
ATLANTA-Looking to bounce back from a tough loss on Thursday night, Georgia State will host UT Arlington on Saturday at the GSU Sports Arena at 1 p.m.
Georgia State (14-6, 5-2 Sun Belt) coaches and staff will wear suits and sneakers on Saturday as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. The Panthers are tied with UT Arlington (9-11, 5-2 Sun Belt) for second place in the league as teams approach the mid-point of conference play.
The Panthers handed UT Arlington a 63-58 loss in Arlington to open Sun Belt play. Since the opening weekend of league play, the Mavericks have won five straight games.
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, 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.
Four of Georgia State’s five starters are averaging in double figures, while defensively the Panthers rank No. 31 in the NCAA in total steals and No. 29 in blocked shots per game.
“Thursday was a tough loss and there is no way to sugar coat it,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “However, the great thing about league play is that you don’t have to wait long to get back out on the court. Our guys are not happy about what happened and will be ready to go on Saturday.”
Since returning from injury, senior Devin Mitchell has shown why he is one of the best shooters in the country. After missing the first seven games, Mitchell has returned to average 14.1 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent from 3-point range. He has made 50 3-pointers in 12 games this season.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is sixth in the league averaging 19.5 points per game. He stands in second-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,519 points, 300 points shy of R.J. Hunter to becoming the all-time career points leader in program history. His career scoring averaging of 18.1 points per game ranks No. 14 among all active NCAA players.
Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a 44 3-pointers, is averaging 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. He stands third on Georgia State’s all-time 3-point field goals made list with 185. He is now just two points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up and is averaging 9.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. He is fourth in the Sun Belt averaging 1.9 steals per game.
Georgia State has made 194 3-pointers this season, an average of 9.7 per game which ranks second in the Sun Belt and No. 31 in the NCAA after setting a school and conference record with 323 last season. The Panthers have made 13 or more 3-pointers in a game five times this season.
Following Saturday’s game, Georgia State will close out a three game homestand facing Georgia Southern on Feb. 2, at 1 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
MIKE HOLMES | Associate Athletic Director – Sports Communications | Georgia State University
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