What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State earned a 71-68 victory over Montana on Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.
* Junior Jeff Thomas just missed a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds.
* Playing in his 100th career game, senior Isaiah Williams finished with 15 points.


ATLANTA-Led by a near double-double from Jeff Thomas, Georgia State held on for a 71-68 win over Montana on Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.

With the game tied 68-68 with under a minute to play, Georgia State made three of its final four free throws to secure the win as a 3-pointer by Almaad Rorie was off the mark for Montana as time expired.

Thomas just missed a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds for Georgia State (6-3). Senior Isaiah Williams, playing in his 100th career game, finished with 15 points, going 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

Junior Malik Benlevi added 14 points, while sophomore D’Marcus Simonds added 12 points and six rebounds.

Montana (5-4) concluded a tough week that started in California on Tuesday. The Grizzlies game with UCLA was cancelled due to the wildfires in Los Angeles before they flew cross-country to play the Panthers today.

“I will take the win,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We are still maturing as a team. We have built big leads in the last couple of games, but we were not mature enough to hold the lead in either game. It is just a part of the process and we will work to continue to get better.”

After seven lead changes in the first seven minutes, Georgia State took control of the game of the first half.

With Montana leading 19-17, Georgia State used a 7-0 run capped by a tip-in by Thomas to take a 24-19 lead with 6:40 remaining.

Minutes later, Georgia State used a 9-0 run over a little more than a minute to build a 33-23 lead with 4:20 to play.

The Panthers used a 10-0 run to go into the locker room leading 43-26 shooting 53.6 percent from the floor and 10-of-12 from the free throw line. On the defensive side, Georgia State held the Grizzlies to just 31.8 percent shooting and 1-of-9 from 3-piont range.

Montana opened the second half with a 6-0 run before a 3-pointer by Isaiah Williams ended the run. Just minutes later, the Grizzlies used another 6-0 run to cut Georgia State’s lead to 46-38 with 14:09 to play as the Panthers missed nine of their first 10 shots of the second half.

Georgia State led 61-48 before three-straight 3-pointers by Montana cut the Panthers’ lead to 61-57 with 5:32 to play.

Montana finally tied the game 68-68 with 1:09 to play, but could never get over the hump. Junior Devin Mitchell hit two free throws with 12.4 seconds to play and then Benlevi made 1-of-2 with 3.7 seconds left to secure the win.

Ahmaad Rorie led Montana with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Jamar Akoh just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.

After shooting 53.6 percent in the first half, Georgia State was held to just 29.6 percent shooting in the second half.

Senior Jordan Session added nine points, five rebounds and four steals in just 24 minutes for Georgia State.

Georgia State will conclude its three-game home-stand hosting nearby Point University on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. The game can be seen live on WatchESPN/ESPN3.