What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State fell to Prairie View A&M 71-56 in the MGM Grand Main Event Middleweight Bracket Championship on Wednesday.
* Junior Malik Benlevi led the Panthers with 17 points and six rebounds.
* Following four-straight games on the road, Georgia State will return home for three of the next four beginning on Sunday with Tulane at 12 p.m.
LAS VEGAS-Despite a big run to start the second half, Georgia State could not overcome a 16-point first half deficit and fell to Prairie View A&M 71-56 in the MGM Grand Main Event Middleweight Bracket Championship on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
Junior Malik Benlevi led Georgia State (3-2) with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while sophomore D’Marcus Simonds added 16 points.
Prairie View A&M (2-3) won the title behind a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds from Gary Blackston and 17 points from tournament MVP Zachary Hamilton who added 17 points.
“We are obviously disappointed with the result today,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We put ourselves in a big hole in the first half. We nearly we able to climb out of it, but it proved to be too much. We will get back to Atlanta and start preparations for our next game.”
Prairie View A&M controlled the pace in the first half as Gary Blackston scored 17 points before the break.
After six early lead changes, Prairie View A&M used a 16-2 run over a nearly seven-minute stretch to take a 26-13 lead with 7:13 to play. The Panthers pushed the lead to 34-18 with 5:29 to play and went into the locker room leading 40-27.
Georgia State was outrebounded 20-12 in the first half and shot just 34.6 percent from the floor, while Prairie View A&M knocked down 8-of-16 from 3-point range.
Georgia State came out strong in the second half using a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 40-34 with 17:46 to play. The Panthers held Prairie View A&M without a field goal for the first 10 minutes of the second half and following a dunk by Benlevi trailed by just four, 45-41 with 9:42 to play.
Unfortunately Prairie View A&M used a 9-0 run to push the lead back to 57-43 and Georgia State was never able to get it back to single digits.
Dennis Jones came off the bench to add 13 points for Prairie View A&M which shot 46.5 percent from the floor and 11-of-22 from 3-point range. The Panthers also went 20-of-22 from the free throw line and outrebounded Georgia State 37-25.
Georgia State finished the MGM Grand Main Event 2-2 and will now return home for three of the next four games.
Georgia State will return to action on Sunday facing Tulane in the GSU Sports Arena at 12 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com or by calling 404-413-4020.