ATLANTA-Looking to defend a second conference title in four years, Georgia State will open the 2018-19 season with its lone exhibition game on Thursday night hosting Georgia College in the GSU Sports Arena at 7 p.m.

For the game on Thursday, Georgia State has partnered with Panther’s Pantry which provides meals to at-risk students facing financial difficulties and inadequate access to food. Admission to the game is free and does not require a ticket, however, fans are encouraged to bring canned goods. Seating for these games will also be general admission.

Thursday’s contest can be heard live on 1380 WOAK-AM and WRAS-FM 88.5 with Dave Cohen, now in his 36th year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by former Panther Lamont McIntosh. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.

Coming off a Sun Belt Conference title, appearance in the NCAA Tournament and school record-tying fifth-straight winning season, Georgia State will put last season in the rearview mirror while returning four members from the starting line-up from last year’s squad.

Leading the offense will be Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year D’Marcus Simonds who broke a handful of records last year. Simonds, who earned 2017-18 AP All-America Honorable Mention recognition, set a school-record with 742 points scored while also leading the team in assists and steals.

Senior Devin Mitchell, who earned All-Sun Belt Third Team honors and knocked down 98 3-pointers, just two shy of R.J. Hunter’s school record of 100, is one of four seniors returning this year. Mitchell is joined by Malik Benlevi, Jeff Thomas and Jordan Tyson. Statistically, Mitchell, Benlevi, and Thomas are among the top 10 3-point shooters in school history.

Georgia State’s returners have scored 3,558 career points. That total is the 13th-most of any program in the country to start the season.

“Our guys are excited to get the season underway,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “After more than a month of practice, everyone is ready to face someone other than ourselves. This team knows it will have a huge target on its back this year, but they are ready to face that challenge and make it another memorable season.”

Georgia State has gone 147-85 in head coach Ron Hunter’s seven seasons, the most wins during any seven-year stretch in program history.

Georgia State will play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country in 2018-19. The Panthers will face four teams that played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and potentially two more based on match-ups in the Cayman Islands Classic in November.

Notes:

  • The Panthers are 4-0 in regular season games against Georgia College and 2-0 in exhibition games, including an 83-61 win on Nov. 3, 2014.
  • The Panthers are 14-0 in exhibition games under Ron Hunter, including a 13-0 mark at home.
  • Since returning to the Sun Belt Conference for the 2013-14 season, Georgia State has finished in the top two in the Sun Belt standings four times in five years.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 110 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.

Georgia State was selected the unanimous favorite in the Sun Belt Conference when the annual Preseason Coaches’ Poll that came out last week. Along with Simonds earning All-Sun Belt First-Team honors, Mitchell garnered All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team recognition.

Georgia College went 11-17 last season, including 7-15 mark in the Peach Belt Conference.

Season tickets are still available for the 2018-19 season. GSU will play 14 regular season home contests this winter at the GSU Sports Arena. Season tickets can be purchased by calling 404-413-4020 or by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.