What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State earned a 79-75 win over Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon to improve to 2-2 in Sun Belt play.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds had his third 30-plus point performance of the year, finishing with 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting.
* Junior Jeff Thomas knocked down a 3-pointer with 30.5 seconds to play to give GSU a three-point lead and the Panthers went 4-of-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the win.


ATLANTA-Sophomore D’Marcus Simonds scored 33 points and Georgia State survived for a 79-75 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.

With the game tied 72-72, junior Jeff Thomas knocked down a 3-pointer with 30.5 seconds to play. The Panthers then went 4-of-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the win.

Georgia State (11-6, 2-2 Sun Belt) won for the second-straight time after knocking down 10 or more 3-pointers for the third-straight game.

Arkansas State (6-11, 1-3 Sun Belt) got 24 points from Deven Simms while Grantham Gillard just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

In a closely matched game, the two teams combined for 22 lead changes and 10 ties.

Simonds went 12-of-20 from the floor, including four 3-pointers with nine rebounds. Junior Malik Benlevi added seven points and seven rebounds, while Devin Mitchell added 11 points, going 5-of-6 from the line, including two with 13 seconds to play.

Senior Isaiah Williams added 12 points in 26 minutes, while Jeff Thomas came off the bench to add 10 points. Williams’ two free throws with eight seconds to play secured the win.

At 11-6, the Panthers are off to the fourth-best start to a season in program history.

“Good game if you were fan,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “A ton of lead changes in a game that we had to win. I didn’t sugarcoat it with the guys before the game. I told them how important this game was and then they knocked down shots and free throws went we needed it. We held serve at home and now need to go get some wins on the road.”

After Georgia State made the first basket of the game, Arkansas State responded with a 7-0 run to take an early 7-3 lead with 16:41 to play in the half.

The Panthers responded with a 7-0 run to take a 10-7 lead with 14:10 to play. The two teams combined for eight lead changes and four ties in the opening 20 minutes.

Georgia State built a 21-15 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half, before the Red Wolves immediately responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game 21-21 with 9:13 to play.

Down 33-29, Georgia State used a 6-0 run to take a 35-33 lead with just under two minutes to play and went into the locker room with a 37-36 lead.

Simonds finished with 16 points in the first half as the Panthers went 7-of-14 from 3-point range.

Georgia State pushed the lead to 39-36 early in the second half before Arkansas State responded with a 6-0 run to take a 42-39 lead with 16:25 remaining.

After the Panthers once again took the lead 54-53, the Red Wolves responded with another 6-0 run to take a 59-54 lead, their largest of the game with 9:18 to play.

Trailing 62-57, Georgia State once again responded with a 6-0 run capped by a lay-up from Simonds to retake the lead 63-62 with 5:23 to play.

The Red Wolves went back up by four with just under three minutes to play before a Mitchell 3-pointer and jumper by Simonds gave the Panthers a 72-71 lead with 1:18 to play.

Both teams shot 26-of-58 from the floor, but the Panthers forced 14 turnovers which led to 14 points in the win.

Georgia State will return to the road to face Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.