What You Need to Know:
* Redshirt-sophomore Devin Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play to give Georgia State a 78-77 win over South Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
* The Panthers trailed 77-70 with 1:33 to play before scoring the final eight points of the game, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
* Sophomore Malik Benlevi led the Panthers with a career-high 19 points.
ATLANTA-Georgia State scored the final eight points of the game, capped by a 3-pointer from Devin Mitchell to earn a 78-77 win over South Alabama on Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.
Georgia State (8-6, 1-1 Sun Belt) trailed 77-70 with 1:33 to play after back-to-back 3-pointers by Shaq Calhoun and Ken Williams for South Alabama (8-7, 1-1 Sun Belt).
The Panthers, who struggled in the first half at the free throw line, made five-straight in the comeback. Redshirt-sophomore Devin Mitchell got fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throw attempts with 1:13 to play to cut the deficit to four.
Sophomore Malik Benlevi, who finished with a career-high 19 points, got fouled with 1:02 to play and made a pair of free throws to cut South Alabama’s lead to 77-75.
After a couple of stops on each end, Mitchell knocked down a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play and after a missed 3-pointer by Calhoun, Jordan Session was able to secure his seventh rebound for the Panthers.
“What a game,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I have said all season that this is a resilient group and they showed it today. It would have been easy to give up after those two 3-pointers, but our group never gave up. Everyone stepped up to the plate and then Devin’s big 3-pointer at the end was just a great shot.”
Benlevi finished with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
After Georgia State knocked down the first basket of the game, South Alabama immediately responded with an 8-0 run to take an 8-2 lead with 16:58 to play in the opening half.
However, led by Thomas, Georgia State got hot from 3-point range as the sophomore knocked down a pair and one from Austin Donaldson gave the Panthers a 15-13 lead with 12:39 to play. Donaldson finished the game with a career-high seven assists.
Georgia State took a 35-33 lead with a 6-0 run near the end of the half, but the Jaguars scored the final four points to go into the locker room leading 37-35. The Panthers shot 47 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
South Alabama made pair of quick baskets to open the second half and take a 41-35 lead just over a minute into the half.
Trailing by five, Georgia State responded with a 7-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back putbacks by Thomas to lead 51-49 with 13:57 remaining.
The Jaguars immediately responded with a 7-0 run of their own to lead 56-51 with 11:41 to play.
After trailing for most of the second half, Benlevi knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:37 to play to tie the game 65-65 as the Panthers held the Jaguars without a field goal for almost five minutes.
After a 3-pointer by Calhoun, Benlevi immediately responded with a 3-pointer for the Panthers to retie the game at 68-68.
Calhoun led South Alabama with 20 points, including five 3-pointers, while Josh Ajayi added 17 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting.
After shooting 2-of-9 from the free throw line in the first half, Georgia State made 15-of-17 in the second half to secure the win.
Georgia State will continue its two-game home-stand facing Troy on Monday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. Tickets can be purchased by calling 404-413-4020 or by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com.