Georgia State Basketball: Panthers Open Sun Belt Conference Championship Saturday as No. 1 Seed

Game Notes attached

 

Quick Notes

• Georgia State won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last year as a No. 2-seed and will enter this year’s championship as the No. 1-seed for the third time in six years. GSU has finished in the top two of the final regular season conference standings five times in the last six years.

• The Panthers are 8-2 as a No. 1-seed in conference tournaments. Of the four previous times it has happened, GSU has won the tournament title twice and advanced to the championship game the other two times.

• Georgia State is 29-32 all-time in conference tournaments, but 6-3 since returning to the Sun Belt Conference for the 2013-14 season.

• The month of March has been good to the Panthers the last few years. Since 2014, GSU is 18-9 in March, having lost only two regular season contests during that time.

• Georgia State has combined to go 14-7 in the state of Louisiana since rejoining the league. During the last five years, the Panthers own an 8-3 record in the Crescent City, including a win over Tulane back in November.

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

• Georgia State has won 22 games, tied for fifth-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 has nine wins away from home this year (7 road, 2 neutral) which is tied for fifth-most in program history.

• 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.

• GSU is 20-0 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 22-9 start is the tied for the third-best 31-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.

• Georgia State set a school and conference record with 323 3-pointers last season. This season the Panthers have already knocked down 310 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 (132) than any other NCAA Division I team in Georgia.

• D’Marcus Simonds earned All-Sun Belt First Team honors earlier this week. He is averaging 18.1 points per game for his career which currently ranks No. 21 among all active NCAA players and is tops in the Sun Belt. He has made 627 career field goals (most in school history) which is No. 38 active players and the No. 4 junior in the country.

• Devin Mitchell’s has made 214 3-pointers in his career which ranks No. 69 among active players. Jeff Thomas has made 211 which ranks No. 73 among all active players.

•             Devin Mitchell (212/3rd), Jeff Thomas (211/4th), and Malik Benlevi (175/7th) all rank among Georgia State career top 10 in 3-point field goals made.

 

­FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2019
Contact: Mike Holmes
Phone: (404) 413-4033
E-mail:
rholmes@gsu.edu

 

Georgia State Opens Sun Belt Conference Championship Saturday as No. 1 Seed

ATLANTA-Looking to win a second-straight and third Sun Belt Conference tournament in five seasons, No. 1-seed Georgia State will open the conference championship on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

Georgia State (22-9, 13-5 Sun Belt) won its third Sun Belt Conference regular season title in the last six years with an impressive win over in-state rival Georgia Southern on Saturday. The win gave the Panthers the No. 1-seed and a triple-bye into the tournament semifinals.

The Panthers will wait to see the winner of Game 5 of the tournament which could include No. 8 South Alabama (16-16), No. 5 Louisiana (19-12) or No. 4 Texas State (23-8).

The Panthers have won six of their last seven games entering the tournament. Georgia State’s 22 wins are tied for the fifth-most in program history and the Panthers have knocked down 310 3-pointers, just 13 shy of both the school and conference record.

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, calling the action. The game will also air live on ESPN+ with Matt Stewart and Bob Donewald calling the game. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.

“We have had a great week of practice and are ready to go win another championship,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Our guys have been ready for this moment basically since we lost to Cincinnati last year in the NCAA Tournament. We played ourselves into a great position as the No. 1-seed and now need to go take care of business in New Orleans.”

All five members of Georgia State’s starting line-up are averaging in double figures. 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.

Junior D’Marcus Simonds, who earned All-Sun Belt First Team honors on Monday after garnering Sun Belt Player of the Year honors last 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 1,716 points after scoring 20 the Eagles on Saturday. He is just 103 points shy of R.J. Hunter from becoming the all-time career points leader in program history. His career scoring average of 18.1 points per game ranks No. 21 among all active NCAA players.

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 12.8 points per game while shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range which ranks first in the conference and No. 13 in the nation. He has made 80 3-pointers in 24 games this season, tied for seventh-most in a single-season in program history.

Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a 67 3-pointers, is averaging 11.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He is coming off his second double-double of the year on Saturday. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.7 points per game, while grabbing 4.5 rebounds per contest and has knocked down 67 3-pointers this season.

Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up averaging 11.4 points and 3.7 assists per game. He ranks No. 35 in the NCAA in steals per game with 2.0. He has scored 40 points in the last two games.

Notes:

  • Georgia State’s 22-9 start to the season is tied for the third-best 31-game start in program history.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (132) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
  • Devin Mitchell (212/3rd), Jeff Thomas (211/4th), and Malik Benlevi (175/7th) 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 20-0 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.
  • The Panthers are 8-2 as a No. 1 seed in conference tournaments, advancing to the championship game each time (four appearances) and winning the title twice.

With a win on Saturday afternoon, Georgia State will advance to the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game on Sunday. Tip is set for 2 p.m. ET at Lakefront Arena.

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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