What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State earned a 77-66 win over Arkansas State on Thursday to win for the eighth-straight time.
* Five Panthers finished in double figures led by D'Marcus Simonds who scored 21.
* Junior Malik Benlevi recorded his third career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
JONESBORO, Ark.-With five in double figures and Malik Benlevi recording his third double-double of the season, Georgia State earned a 77-66 win over Arkansas State on Thursday night at First National Bank Arena. It was the eighth-straight win for the Panthers who have not lost in 2018.
Sophomore D’Marcus Simonds led the Panthers with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Benlevi added 13 points, all of which came in the second half, and 10 rebounds.
Georgia State’s (17-6, 8-2 Sun Belt) win streak is now tied for the third-longest in program history and matches an eight-game winning streak from last season. At 17-6, the Panthers are off to the second-best start to a season in program history.
Arkansas State (8-15, 3-7 Sun Belt) was led by Deven Simms who scored 28 points, but the Red Wolves could not overcome 36.1 percent shooting. The Panthers held their opponent under 40 percent shooting for a sixth-straight game.
Jeff Thomas knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points while senior Jordan Session finished with 10 points in just 17 minutes. Senior Isaiah Williams came off the bench to score 10 points, including 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final minute.
“That’s a great road win tonight,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “This is a tough place to come in and get a win, but it is one that we needed. I thought we played solid defense tonight and really moved the ball around to have five guys score in double figures.”
Arkansas State took an early 9-5 lead with 16:37 to play as both teams came out shooting the ball well.
In a closely contested first half, Georgia State retook the lead 16-15 on a Simonds jumper with 12:11 remaining. The two teams combined for 11 lead changes and four ties in the first half.
Trailing 27-26, Georgia State used a 6-0 run started by on a dunk by Simonds to take a 32-27 lead with just over a minute to play and went into the locker room leading 32-29.
Simonds led the charge with 15
Leading by one, Session led Georgia State on a 6-0 run to take a 43-36 lead with 14:53 to play. The Red Wolves immediately responded with a 6-0 run to cut Georgia State’s lead to 45-44 with 12:19 left.
Trailing by four, Arkansas State used a 6-0 run to take a 50-48 lead with 10:46 to play before the Panthers responded with a 7-0 run to push the lead back to five 55-50 with 8:43 remaining.
With 3-pointers by Thomas and Benlevi on back-to-back possessions, the Panthers pushed the lead to 61-52 with 7:21 to play.
On a lay-up by Simonds, the Panthers pushed the lead to double figures for the first time, 70-60, with 3:27 left.
Junior Devin Mitchell added eight points and four steals for the Panthers which shot 55.8 percent from the floor and 10-of-24 from 3-point range.
Marquis Eaton added 14 points but the Red Wolves went just 4-of-25 from 3-point range.
Georgia State will conclude its trip to Arkansas facing Little Rock at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.