Georgia State Basketball: Panthers Look for Sixth-Straight Win Hosting UL Monroe 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 68-29 in Sun Belt Conference regular season games since rejoining the league in 2013-14.

• Georgia State has won 16-straight games in the month of January dating back to 2017.

• GSU has won five-straight games and 7-of-8 games with the lone loss coming to No. 24 Kansas State.

• Head coach Ron Hunter is 74-17 in home games since his arrival and 64-10 in the last five-plus seasons.

• Georgia State’s 12-4 start is tied for the second-best 16-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.

• Last time out, Georgia State topped Louisiana 89-76 as Jeff Thomas scored 17 points with five 3-pointers.

• 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 (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 start of the 2013-14 season, Georgia State has won more games (122) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.

• Junior D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 17.9 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 523 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 (178/4th), Devin Mitchell (163/8th) and Malik Benlevi (147/10th) 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.

 

­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 11, 2019
Contact: Mike Holmes
Phone: (404) 413-4033
E-mail:
rholmes@gsu.edu

 

Georgia State Looks for Sixth Straight Win Hosting UL Monroe Saturday

ATLANTA-Looking to earn a sixth-straight win and remain undefeated in conference play, Georgia State will host UL Monroe on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.

Georgia State (12-4, 3-0 Sun Belt) has won 16 straight games in the month of January dating back to 2017 and hosts UL Monroe (9-6, 2-1 Sun Belt) whom the Panthers have defeated seven of the last nine times.

The Panthers have won seven straight home games dating back to last year and are looking to improve to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 2013-14 when Georgia State won its first 10 Sun Belt 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.

All five Georgia State starters are currently averaging in double figures, while defensively the Panthers rank No. 20 in the NCAA in steals and No. 28 in blocked shots.

“As we try to do every year, we are looking to peak in February and March,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I thought we did a lot of good things on Thursday, but still not where this team hopes to be in a few weeks. ULM will come in hungry after a tough loss on Thursday night, but I believe our guys will be prepared to continue our upward climb.”

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 50.0 percent from 3-point range, making just under four per contest.

Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is seventh in the league averaging 18.8 points per game. He stands in fourth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,430 points after recently moving ahead of Devonta White. His career scoring averaging of 17.9 points per game ranks No. 18 among all active NCAA players.

Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a team-high 39 3-pointers, is averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, shooting 42.9 from beyond the arc. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest after knocking down five 3-pointers on Thursday to move into fourth in program history with 178 triples. He is now just 48 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up and is averaging 10.4 points and 3.7 assists per game while ranking No. 54 in the nation in steals with 2.0 per contest.

Georgia State has made 154 3-pointers this season, an average of 9.6 per game which ranks second in the Sun Belt and No. 37 in the NCAA after setting and school and conference record with 323 last season. The Panthers have made 13 or more 3-pointers in a game five times this season.

Notes:

  • Since head coach Ron Hunter’s arrival, the Panthers are 11-3 against schools from Louisiana in the GSU Sports Arena.
  • Georgia State’s 12-4 start to the season is tied for the second-best 16-game start in program history.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (122) 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 State will return to the road to face South Alabama on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET live on ESPN+.

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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