ATLANTA-Coming off a record-tying month of November, Georgia State will open December on the road in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday facing Liberty in the Vines Center at 6 p.m.
Georgia State (5-2) won five games in November for just the third time in program history following a victory over Tulane on Wednesday. The previous two times the Panthers won five games in the opening month of the season (2014-15, 2017-18), Georgia State advanced to the NCAA Tournament the following March.
Liberty (6-1) is off to an equally impressive start to the season. The six wins for the Flames are the most in school history in the month of November.
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 Warner and Paul Nazgian calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
The Panthers are off to a 5-2 start for the third time in the last five years and are currently in the midst of a six-game stretch away from home in which they are 3-1.
Senior Malik Benlevi enters play as one of the hottest 3-point shooters in the country. In the last two games, Benvlevi has knocked down 13-of-22 from beyond the arc while earning career-high point totals in each game. On Wednesday he finished with 25 points as the Panthers knocked off Tulane 80-76.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds, who leads the Sun Belt Conference averaging 21.6 points per game, has moved into sixth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,281 points. He enters play on Saturday just 94 points shy of Chavelo Holmes for fifth on the all-time list.
Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is 32nd in the nation in scoring while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor.
“As I have said before, we wanted to play the toughest schedule we could early in the year to prepare us for February and March,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Saturday’s game will be no different as Liberty has a very good program and we will encounter arguably our toughest environment of the year. However, our team knows what it takes to win on the road and I know will be ready on Saturday.”
Georgia State and Liberty will be closing out a home and home series that started in Atlanta last year as the Flames earned a 77-74 overtime victory.
Senior Jeff Thomas is averaging a career-best 12.6 points per game and has now moved within 100 points of Georgia State’s top 25 in career scoring. Thomas is averaging 2.4 3-pointers per game, tied for fifth in the Sun Belt, while also pulling down 4.6 defensive rebounds per contest which ranks No. 11.
Georgia State enters play averaging 8.4 steals per game, No. 2 in the Sun Belt and 43rd in the NCAA. Benlevi, along with sophomore Kane Williams rank among the top three in the conference in steals. The Panthers 5.7 blocks per game average
- The Panthers are looking to improve to 6-2 for the third time in five seasons.
- The Panthers own a 44-34 mark against teams that currently make up the Atlantic Sun Conference.
- Georgia State is ranked No. 20 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
- Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (115) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
Following Saturday’s game, Georgia State will close out its six-game stretch away from home traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face Alabama on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. The game will air live on SECN+.