What You Need to Know:
* No. 2 seed Georgia State will open the Sun Belt Championship on Friday night at 6 p.m. ET facing No. 7 seed Louisiana at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.
* It will mark the third time in four seasons that the two schools have met in the conference championship. The winner of each of those games has advanced to the NCAA tournament.
* Freshman D'Marcus Simonds was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year on Monday, while he and Jeremy Hollowell earned all-conference honors.
ATLANTA-Looking to win a second Sun Belt tournament championship in three seasons, No. 2-seed Georgia State will open the conference championship on Friday night at 6 p.m. ET facing No. 7-seed Louisiana at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.
Georgia State (19-11) earned the No. 2 seed with a win over in-state rival Georgia Southern last Saturday and is a top-two seed in the conference tournament for the third time in the last four years. The Panthers have been a No. 2 seed twice in program history, the last time coming in 2000.
The Panthers will face No. 7-seed Louisiana (21-11) which advanced to the quarterfinals with a 78-71 win over Little Rock on Wednesday. It will mark the third time in four years that the two schools have met in the conference tournament.
Friday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3 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 with Matt Stewart and Bob Donewald calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
“We have had a very good week of practice and are ready to try and win another championship,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We have some seniors who have never been to the NCAA tournament and they know this is their last shot. This is what we have played for all season and we are excited that March Madness is upon us.”
Senior Jeremy Hollowell, who earned All-Sun Belt Second Team honors earlier this week, has been the Panthers’ leader all year averaging 15.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. On senior day last Saturday again the Eagles, he recorded his second career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
He scored the 1,000th point of his career at Troy earlier this year and now has 905 points in a Georgia State uniform, just two points shy of the school’s all-time top 25.
D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors and All-Sun Belt Third Team recognition on Monday. He has averaged 13.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.1 percent from the floor this season.
Senior Willie Clayton also joined the 1,000 career point club a few weeks ago. He is currently one of just 14 active NCAA players to record at least 1,000 career points and 850 career rebounds. Clayton is averaging 6.2 points and 7.2 rebounds this season.
Senior Isaiah Dennis has finished his career strong, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds, while shooting 62.0 percent from the floor. He enters the tournament having been a part of 85 wins, just two shy of the best four-year stretch in program history.
- Georgia State is No. 37 in the NCAA with 47.4 field goal percentage and No. 40 with a 40.9 field goal percentage defense.
- Georgia State is 25-31 all-time in conference tournaments, winning titles in 2015, 2001 and 1991.
- Senior Willie Clayton has 897 career rebounds, ranked No. 12 in the NCAA among all active players.
- In six years as the head coach for the Panthers, Ron Hunter is responsible for four of the six most successful seasons in program history.
With a win on Friday night, Georgia State will advance to face the winner of No. 2 Georgia Southern and No. 6 Troy on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET live on WatchESPN from Lakefront Arena.
• Georgia State earned a top-two seed for the third time in four years since returning to the Sun Belt and has received a bye each of those years.
• The last time the Panthers were a No. 2 seed was 2000 as a member of the TAAC. GSU is 3-2 all-time in conference tournaments as the No. 2 seed.
• Georgia State is 25-31 all-time in conference tournaments, winning titles in 2015 (1-seed), 2001 (1-seed) and 1991 (5-seed).
• Georgia State swept the season series with No. 7 seed Louisiana.
• The 101 points scored in Lafayette was the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns gave up 100 at home since 1990.
• GSU has faced Louisiana twice in Sun Belt Conference tournaments (2014 and 2015).
• Since rejoining the Sun Belt, GSU is 53-23 in conference regular season games, the most wins of any school in the league.
• Head coach Ron Hunter has led the Panthers for six years and is responsible for four of the seven most successful seasons in program history.
• D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors on Monday. R.J. Hunter (CAA) is the only other GSU player to earn freshman honors.
• Jeremy Hollowell (Second Team) and D’Marcus Simonds (Third Team) both earned All-Sun Belt recognition on Monday.
• In late January/early February, GSU won eight-straight games which is tied for the third-longest streak in program history.
• Senior Willie Clayton is one of just 14 active players in the NCAA with 1,000+ points and 850+ rebounds (3 rebounds shy of 900).
• Isaiah Dennis has been a part of 85 wins at GSU, second-most in program history.
• Jeremy Hollowell scored his 1,000th career point at Troy on Jan. 28. He has scored 905 points at GSU and is just two shy of the top 25.
• Ron Hunter enters play with 122 wins at GSU, the most in program history.
• Freshman D’Marcus Simonds was named MVP of the Cancun Challenge in November.
• Georgia State is 82-38 (.683) since Dec. 14, 2013.