Final Stats attached
Georgia State Remains Undefeated in Sun Belt Play with 89-76 Win Over Louisiana
ATLANTA – Georgia State hit 13 3-pointers and shot 67.9 percent from the field in a dominant second half to top Louisiana 89-76 on Thursday at GSU Sports Arena. The Panthers remain undefeated in Sun Belt play while winning for the fifth-straight time.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds led four Panthers in double-digits with 21 points. Jeff Thomas scored 17, connecting on five 3-pointers. Malik Benlevi had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Devin Mitchell scored 13, knocking down three 3-pointers all in the second half.
Georgia State (12-4, 3-0 Sun Belt) improved to 6-0 at home this season, and has now won 16-straight games in the month of January dating back to 2017. The Panthers have also won seven straight home games dating back to last season.
JaKeenan Gant did most of the damage for Louisiana (10-6, 1-2 Sun Belt), scoring a game-high 36 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Gant scored 45 points against Little Rock last Saturday. Justin Miller added 11 points and 13 boards before fouling out.
“I thought that for the third or fourth straight game, it was all about our defense and it was great again tonight,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Nelson Phillips really gave us a boost in the second half, especially in transition. I keep saying that we are not playing pretty, but we keep finding ways to win and that is the most important thing. It’s a good win and we held serve at home.”
Thomas got the Panthers off to a hot start, as he and Simonds scored 19 of the team’s first 21 points. Thomas scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half, including a run of 11 straight.
But both teams struggled from the field in the half, including a stretch when they shot a combined 3-for-21. Georgia State clung to a slim lead before a layup by Gant late in the half gave Louisiana its first and only lead of the game. The Panthers tied it up before Benlevi hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give GSU a 32-29 halftime lead.
Georgia State rode that momentum into the second half, connecting on nine of its first 11 shots, including 5-for-6 from deep. The Panthers led by as many as 16, but the Ragin’ Cajuns would inch back into the game, riding a 7-0 run to cut the lead to five with 10 minutes left. But that would be as close as it got with Mitchell leading the way, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half.
Jeff Thomas moved into fourth in program history with 178 3-pointers made, passing Thomas Terrell. He also moved ahead of former teammate Jeremy Hollowell for No. 24 on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list.
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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