What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will host UT Arlington on Saturday in a battle of two of the top teams in the Sun Belt at 2:15 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
* The Panthers have won four-straight home games and are just a half-game out of first place entering the weekend.
* Senior Willie Clayton scored the 1,000th point of his career on Monday and is now one of just nine active NCAA players with 1,000-plus points and 850-plus rebounds in a career.
ATLANTA-With first place in the Sun Belt on the line Saturday, Georgia State will host UT Arlington in the GSU Sports Arena at 2:15 p.m. Just a half-game separates the two Sun Belt squads with only five games remaining in the regular season.
Georgia State (16-9, 9-4 Sun Belt) returns home looking to extend its four-game home-court winning streak, sitting just one-half game behind UT Arlington (19-6, 9-3 Sun Belt) entering play. Just one game currently separates the top five teams in the conference.
Saturday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3 and 1230 The Fan 2 with Dave Cohen, now in his 34th year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by 680 The Fan’s Brandon Leak. The game will also air on the WatchESPN platform for a second-straight year with Sam Crenshaw and former Panther Rodney “Truck” Turner calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
This will mark the first and only match-up between the Panthers and Mavericks this season. UTA leads the all-time series 5-4, but Georgia State is 4-2 since returning to the Sun Belt three seasons ago.
Freshman D’Marcus Simonds, who missed the first three games of Sun Belt play due to an injury has been rolling since his return just over a month ago. He is currently averaging 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor. He has upped his scoring averaging to 16.6 points per game in conference play.
“To say we were not disappointed by what happened last weekend would be a lie,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “However, we still control our own destiny. First, we need to take care of business on Saturday against a very good UT Arlington team. They are just as hungry to win a championship as we are, but we love the fact this game is at home and will be played in front of what I know will be a great crowd.”
Senior Jeremy Hollowell, an All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team member, continues to lead the Panthers averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He scored the 1,000th point of his career at Troy earlier this year and now has 833 points in a Georgia State uniform.
He is one of six Panthers scoring 6.0 or more points per game, as 10 members of the team average at least 11 minutes per game. Hollowell has scored 20 or more points in a game eight times this year.
Senior Willie Clayton also joined the 1,000 career point club this past Monday. He is currently one of just nine active NCAA players to record at least 1,000 career points and 850 career rebounds. Clayton is averaging 6.1 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.
Sophomore Malik Benlevi has easily been Georgia State’s most improved player since last year. In Sun Belt games, Benlevi is averaging 10.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.8 percent from the floor.
Junior Isaiah Williams is adding 8.5 points and dishing out 2.1 assists per game. He leads the team with 52 assists and is one of six Panthers with at least 20 steals this season.
· Georgia State is first in the Sun Belt and No. 32 in the NCAA averaging 8.0 steals per game.
· Despite several players in their first year at Georgia State, the Panthers starting line-up doesn’t lack experience. Both Jeremy Hollowell (117) and Willie Clayton (121) played in their 100th career games during non-conference play.
· Georgia State is No. 41 in the NCAA forcing 15.28 turnovers per game.
· Freshman D’Marcus Simonds is sixth in the Sun Belt averaging 1.4 steals per game and No. 19 in scoring.
· Senior Willie Clayton has 856 career rebounds, ranked No. 12 in the NCAA among all active players.
Following Saturday’s game, Georgia State will host Texas State in the next-to-last home game of the season on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. The game will air live on the WatchESPN platform. Tickets for the game can be purchased by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.
• Georgia State and UT Arlington will meet for the 10th time on Saturday. GSU has won four of the last six meetings.
• Since rejoining the Sun Belt, GSU is 50-21 in conference regular season games, the most wins of any school in the league. UTA is tied for second with 41.
• Georgia State saw its eight-game winning streak snapped at Appalachian State last Saturday. The stretch is tied for the third-longest in program history.
• Georgia State enters played tied for second in the Sun Belt, just one-half game behind UT Arlington for first place with five games to play.
• Senior Willie Clayton scored his 1,000th point on Monday. He is one of just nine active players in the NCAA with 1,000+ points and 850+ rebounds.
• Senior Isaiah Dennis has been a part of 82 wins at GSU, the fourth-most in program history.
• Jeremy Hollowell scored his 1,000th career point at Troy on Jan. 28. He has scored 833 points at GSU.
• Georgia State finished non-conference play with 7 wins, tied for third most in program history.
• Georgia State made 15 3-pointers against Coastal Carolina on Jan. 21, tied for the sixth-most in a single game in program history.
• The Panthers 101-86 win at Louisiana marked the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns have given up 100 points at home since 1990.
• The win over Middle Tennessee in mid-December marked the second time in three seasons defeating an NCAA RPI Top 10 team.
• Ron Hunter enters play with 119 wins at GSU, the most in program history.
• Hunter is one of seven coaches to be the all-time winningest coach at multiple NCAA D1 schools.
• Senior Jeremy Hollowell has scored 20 or more points in a game seven times this year and is averaging a team-high 15.6 points per game.
• D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 16.6 points per game in SBC play, tops among freshman.
• Willie Clayton has two double-doubles this year and has 19 for his career.
• Freshman D’Marcus Simonds was named MVP of the Cancun Challenge in November.
• Georgia State is 79-36 (.687) since Dec. 14, 2013.