What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State begins a three-game home-stand facing Liberty on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds recorded his second double-double of the season last time out.
* Georgia State enters play ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with a 7.6 turnover margin.
ATLANTA-Looking to win its third-straight game while opening a three-game home-stand, Georgia State will face Liberty on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
Georgia State (5-2) will open the two-game home-and-home series which will conclude in Lynchburg, Va., next season, facing a Liberty (5-3) squad coming off a triple-overtime loss to UNC Greensboro on Saturday night.
Monday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Dave Cohen, now in his 35th 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 third-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.
Georgia State went on the road for the fifth time this season and earned a 63-53 win over Alabama A&M last Wednesday night. Sophomore D’Marcus Simonds recorded his second double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while also dishing out five assists.
“After spending a good portion of the month of November on the road, our guys are excited to be back home for a couple of weeks,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We continue to win games by playing great defense and not turning the ball over. Our offense is not too far off and when it starts to click, it will make us a very good, well-rounded team.”
Georgia State enters play ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with a 7.6 turnover margin, along with the No. 12 in scoring defense (59.1 ppg) and No. 23 field goal percentage defense (37.2 percent).
Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is Simonds who enters Monday averaging 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. The reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year is among the top six in the Sun Belt in scoring, assists, steals and minutes played.
Simonds is one of three Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Malik Benlevi is averaging 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, shooting 51.4 percent from 3-point range and 49.2 percent from the floor.
Benlevi along with senior Jordan Session became the first Panthers to each record a double-double in a game since the 2006-07 season after they accomplished the feat against Tulane last Sunday.
Junior Devin Mitchell rounds out the double-digit scoring threat adding 11.4 points per game. He has knocked down a team-high 20 3-pointers and is shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Panthers are scoring 70.6 points per game while holding opponents to just 59.1 points per contest. Equally remarkable, Georgia State has forced 133 turnovers, while turning the ball over just 80 times.
- Senior Jordan Session played in his 100th career game on Wednesday. Senior Isaiah Williams could join that group on Dec. 9 against Montana.
- Session, along with Simonds and Benlevi are all among the top six in the Sun Belt in steals per game.
- Georgia State ranks first in the Sun Belt in both scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and turnover margin, along with second in steals.
- With a win, Georgia State would improve to 6-2 for the third time in the last four years.
- Georgia State is one of four Sun Belt schools currently ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.
Following the game on Monday, Georgia State will take most of the week off for final exams before returning to the court on Saturday to host Montana at 2 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
• Georgia State will begin a two-game home and home series with Liberty on Monday before making the trip to Lynchburg next season.
• This marks the third time the Panthers and Flames meet with GSU holding a 2-0 series lead.
• Georgia State is coming off a 63-53 win at Alabama A&M on Wednesday.
• Against the Bulldogs, D’Marcus Simonds recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
• Simonds has scored in double figures in 24-straight games, among the top 10 longest streaks in the country.
• The two double-doubles against Tulane marked the first time since the 2006-07 season that GSU recorded multiple in one game.
• With a win on Monday, Georgia State would improve to 6-2 for the third time in four years.
• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 2 in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 7.6.
• Head coach Ron Hunter, Georgia State’s all-time leader in wins, won the 400th game of his career on Nov. 20 against Eastern Washington.
• Hunter has led the Panthers to four of the seven most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons.
• On opening night, D’Marcus Simonds recorded the first triple-double in school history (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists).
• Simonds has been named to multiple preseason watch lists, including Lute Olsen and Lou Henson.
• Georgia State was picked to finish second in the annual Sun Belt Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
• Georgia State is ranked No. 22 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
• The Panthers have won 20 or more games in three of the last four seasons, advancing to postseason play in each of those years.
• During the last four years, GSU has finished in the top two in the Sun Belt standings three times.
• Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 91 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.
• Following Monday’s game, GSU will continue a three-game homestand with Montana on Saturday.