Georgia State Basketball: Panthers Look to Win Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Title at Georgia Southern 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.

• Georgia State enters Saturday in a three-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings with Georgia Southern and Texas State. The trio of teams are each 12-5.

• A GSU win on Saturday would give the Panthers their third league regular season championship in the last six seasons.

• Head coach Ron Hunter is 21-6 against teams from the state of Georgia since taking over in 2011.

• Georgia State has already secured a sixth-straight winning season for the first time in program history.

• Georgia State has won 21 games, sixth-most in program history. The Panthers have won 20 or more games in a season nine times with six of those coming in Ron Hunter’s eight years as head coach.

• GSU is the ONLY program in the country with four players to knock down 50 or more 3-pointers this year.

• GSU along with Duke and Kentucky are the only programs in the country to have at least four players with 20 or more blocked shots this season.

• The Panthers are 77-34 in Sun Belt Conference regular season games since rejoining the league in 2013-14.

• GSU is 19-0 when leading at the half this season. The Panthers have the second-most wins in the country without a loss when leading at the half. Gonzaga leads the nation with 24 wins.

• The Panthers already have five wins this season when trailing by more than eight points, including come-from-behind wins of 22 (Alabama) and 18 (South Alabama).

• Georgia State’s 21-9 start is the tied for the third-best 30-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 has as many SEC wins this year as Georgia (2) and more than Vanderbilt (0).

• GSU’s 21-point halftime comeback at Alabama is tied for the 12th-largest halftime comeback in NCAA history.

• Georgia State set a school and conference record with 323 3-pointers last season. This season the Panthers have already knocked down 301 3-pointers, second-most in program history.

• Georgia State has recorded four of the 11 best 3-pointers made in a single game this season. The Panthers have had games with 16, 15 and 14 3-pointers (twice) so far this regular season.

• The Panthers 39.3 3-point field goal percentage is currently the best mark in program history.

• Since the 2013-14 season, GSU has won more games (131) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.

• Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is averaging 18.0 points per game for his career which currently ranks No. 19 among all active NCAA players and is tops in the Sun Belt. He has made 621 career field goals (most in school history) which is No. 36 active players and the No. 3 junior in the country.

• Devin Mitchell’s career 3-point shooting percent of 42.0 is ranked No. 46 among all active players. He has made 212 3-pointers in his career which ranks No. 68 among active players. Jeff Thomas has made 209 which ranks No. 70 among all active players.

• Devin Mitchell (210/3rd), Jeff Thomas (209/4th), and Malik Benlevi (173/7th) 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).

 

­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2019
Contact: Mike Holmes
Phone: (404) 413-4033
E-mail:
rholmes@gsu.edu

 

Georgia State Looks to Win Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Title at Georgia Southern Saturday

ATLANTA-Looking to win a third Sun Belt Conference Regular Season title in six years, Georgia State will close out the season on Saturday facing in-state rival Georgia Southern at 5 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse.

Georgia State (21-9, 12-5 Sun Belt) stands in a tie with Georgia Southern (20-10, 12-5 Sun Belt) and Texas State for first place in the league standings entering the final day of the regular season. With a win, the Panthers clinch the regular season title and the No. 1-seed in next week’s conference tournament in New Orleans.

The Panthers have won five of their last six games, while the Eagles come in equally hot having won their last six games. Georgia State will be looking for its first win in Statesboro since 1996, a stretch of six-straight losses. However, the Panthers have won four of the last five meetings with the Eagles including an 81-72 victory in Atlanta last month.

Saturday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 and WGTJ-AM 1330/97.9 FM 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+. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.

All five members of Georgia State’s starting line-up are averaging in double figures as the Panthers have knocked down 301 3-pointers this year, second-most in program history and No. 19 in the NCAA this season. Last year, Georgia State made a conference and school-record 323 3-pointers.

The Panthers are the only team in the country with four players having made 50 or more 3-pointers this season and join Duke and Kentucky as the only programs to have four players with 20 or more blocked shots.

“This is one of those games that there will not need to be a ‘rah-rah’ speech before the game,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Our guys know exactly what this game means, and I have seen it at practice this week. They are back to having fun on the court and that is what it takes for this group to be successful. Saturday is going to be a lot of fun.”

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 13.1 points per game while shooting 44.8 percent from 3-point range which ranks first in the conference and No. 15 in the nation. He has made 78 3-pointers in 23 games this season, the ninth-most in a single-season in program history.

Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the 2017-18 Sun Belt Player of the Year, is fifth in the league averaging 18.9 points per game. He stands in second-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,696 points after scoring 10 against Little Rock on Saturday. He is just 123 points shy of R.J. Hunter from becoming the all-time career points leader in program history. His career scoring average of 18.0 points per game ranks No. 19 among all active NCAA players.

Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a 65 3-pointers, is averaging 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior Jeff Thomas is also averaging 11.7 points per game, while grabbing 4.6 rebounds per contest and has knocked down 65 3-pointers this season.

Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up averaging 11.0 points and 3.7 assists per game. He ranks No. 48 in the NCAA in steals per game with 1.97.

Notes:

  • Georgia State’s 21-9 start to the season is tied for the third-best 30-game start in program history.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (131) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
  • Devin Mitchell (210/3rd), Jeff Thomas (209/4th), and Malik Benlevi (173/7th) all rank among Georgia State career top 10 in 3-point field goals made.
  • Georgia State is shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range which as it stands today is the best mark in program history. It also ranks No. 10 in the NCAA.
  • Georgia State is 19-0 when leading at halftime this season, the second-most wins without a loss at halftime in the country, just behind Gonzaga’s 24-0 mark.
  • The Panthers have already overcome five deficits of at least eight points this season, including two of 18 points or greater.

Following Saturday’s game Georgia State will open the Sun Belt Conference tournament on either next Friday or Saturday in New Orleans. The date and time of Georgia State’s first game will be announced on Saturday night.

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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