What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State and Eastern Washington, a pair of 20-plus win and postseason teams from last year, will square off on Monday in the MGM Grand Main Event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds scored a career-high 29 points at Ole Miss on Friday and is averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.
* The Panthers are looking to start the season 3-1 for the second time in three seasons.
ATLANTA-A pair of 20-plus win and postseason teams from last year will face off in the MGM Grand Main Event on Monday when Georgia State takes on Eastern Washington at T-Mobile Arena at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Georgia State (2-1) is continuing a stretch of four games in nine days all away from the GSU Sports Arena and the third-straight game against a team that won 20 or more games and advanced to postseason play last year.
Eastern Washington (2-2) already owns a win over Stanford this year and close losses to UNLV and Washington. The Eagles went 22-12 last year and advanced to the College Basketball Invitational.
Monday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM 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 live on FloHoops.TV. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
The Panthers will be looking to start a season 3-1 for the second time in three years as head coach Ron Hunter looks for his 400th career win after becoming Georgia State’s all-time career wins leader last season. He is one of just seven NCAA Division I coaches to be the winningest coach at multiple schools.
“I really like the way we came out offensively on Friday night against Ole Miss,” Hunter said. “That is the way we need to start games to get the results we want this week in Las Vegas. Eastern Washington is a very good team that has already been tested multiple times this year. We will have to continue to play well defensively as well to get a win.”
Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Monday afternoon averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. The reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year recorded the first triple-double in program history on opening night. He scored a career-high 29 points at Ole Miss on Friday.
Simonds is one of four Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Devin Mitchell is adding 12.3 points per game and has knocked down a team-high 10 3-pointers. Junior Malik Benlevi is averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range. Rounding out the group is junior Jeff Thomas scoring 11.3 points and grabbing 4.7 boards per contest after just missing double-double at Ole Miss.
Georgia State enters play No. 15 in the NCAA in turnover margin and No. 21 in total steals with 31.
Georgia State has attempted 90 3-pointers in the first three games, 53rd-most in the NCAA.
Georgia State will face Eastern Washington for the first time in program history. It will be just the fifth-game all-time against a program currently in the Big Sky.
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 three times.
Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 88 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.
Georgia State was selected to finish second in the Sun Belt standings in the annual Preseason Coaches’ Poll that came out last week.
Following the game on Monday, Georgia State will conclude the MGM Grand Main Event on Wednesday facing either Eastern Kentucky or Prairie View A&M at either 2 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. ET.
• Georgia State will face Eastern Washington for the first time on Monday to open the Las Vegas portion of the MGM Grand Event.
• The MGM Grand Main Event will mark the 6th time in 7 years GSU plays in a non-conference tournament.
• Georgia State is 10-11 in tournament action under Ron Hunter. GSU has split games with Rice (75-54) and Ole Miss (72-77) to open the event.
• Last season the Panthers won the Mayan Division of the Cancun Challenge defeating Eastern Kentucky, a potential opponent on Wednesday.
• Georgia State is looking to start a season 3-1 for the second time in three years.
• Last time out, D’Marcus Simonds scored a career-high 29 points, but GSU was called for 30 fouls in a 77-72 loss at Ole Miss.
• On opening night, 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.
• Simonds was named to the All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team before the start of the season.
• Georgia State was picked to finish second in the annual Sun Belt Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
• Georgia State is ranked No. 20 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, Georgia State 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 88 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.
• Head coach Ron Hunter, Georgia State’s all-time leader in wins, enters the tournament just one win shy of 400 for his career.
• Hunter has led the Panthers to four of the seven most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons.
• Following the MGM Grand Main Event, GSU will return home to host Tulane on Sunday at noon.