What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will face Troy on Thursday night in the GSU Sports Arena at 7:15 p.m.
* As a team, the Panthers are just seven 3-pointers shy of the school record of 276 set during the 2000-01 season.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds is just 68 points shy of R.J. Hunter's school record of 688 single-season points set just three seasons ago.
ATLANTA-Looking to build momentum heading into next week’s Sun Belt Conference tournament, Georgia State will host Troy on Thursday night in the GSU Sports Arena at 7:15 p.m.
Georgia State (20-9, 11-5 Sun Belt) has wrapped up the No. 2-seed in the upcoming championship and will be one of the two top seeds for the fourth time in the last five years. It also marks the fourth time in five years that the Panthers have won 20 or more games.
Troy (14-15, 8-8 Sun Belt) is still in the hunt to receive a top-four seed in the tournament which allows for a bye into the quarterfinals. The Trojans have won five of seven and topped the Panthers 68-66 in the first meeting this year.
At 20-9, the Panthers are off to the third-best start to a season in program history. Despite two games remaining in the regular season, Georgia State already has tied for the fifth-most wins in school history.
Thursday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM, WRAS-FM 88.5 and now WXJO-AM 1120/104.5 FM with Dave Cohen, now in his 35th year as the Voice of the Panthers, and 680 The Fan’s Brandon Leak calling the action. The game will also air live on the WatchESPN platform with Sam Crenshaw and Rodney Turner calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
Thursday night will also mark the eighth of nine Panther Athletic Club Hospitality Events located on the fourth floor of the GSU Sports Arena. All Panther Athletic Club members are encouraged to attend.
Fans are encouraged to use the Central Ave. or Courtland Street entrances to G-Deck for parking due to construction on Collins Street. Right turns are only allowed onto South Collins Street and no left turns will be permitted.
The Panthers enter the final two games of the season with a 10-2 mark at home this season and a 57-9 mark in the GSU Sports Arena over the last five seasons.
“Although we have wrapped up the No. 2 seed, these final two home games are extremely important to us,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Not only do we want to enter the tournament with some momentum, but we also want to defend our home court which is extremely important to us.”
Georgia State enters play ranked first in the league in field goal percentage defense (39.9), turnover margin (+3.6) and blocked shots (4.6), along with second in scoring defense (67.3) and steals (7.4). The Panthers’ scoring defense is ranked No. 53 in the NCAA, while the field goal percentage defense is No. 10.
However, the Panthers’ offense is equally good. Georgia State is first in the Sun Belt in 3-point field goal percentage (38.2) and 3-point field goals made per game (9.1), along with second in field goal percentage (46.1).
Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Thursday averaging 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He has scored in double-figures in 46-straight games and is ranked No. 20 in the country in scoring. He is on pace to score the most points in a single-season in school history after establishing a new school record with his 223rd made field goal against Texas State. Despite being just a sophomore, he has moved into the top 20 in career scoring with 1,008 points last Saturday.
Simonds is one of four Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Devin Mitchell is second on the team averaging 12.2 points per game, having knocked down 80 3-pointers, tied with R.J. Hunter for the sixth-most in a single-season in school history. He has three games this year with seven or more 3-pointers including last Saturday at UT Arlington where he made seven and scored 25 points.
Junior Jeff Thomas is averaging 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has made 136 3-pointers in his career, ninth-most in program history.
Junior Malik Benlevi and senior Jordan Session round out the starters. Benlevi is averaging 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while Session adds 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. Benlevi, along with Simonds have each recorded five double-doubles this season, while Session has garnered three.
- D’Marcus Simonds has made 234 total field goals this year which ranks No. 8 in the country.
- Georgia State has made 269 3-pointers this year which is ranked second-most in program history, while the Panthers’ 3-point field goal percentage (38.2) is the best mark in school history.
- Senior Jordan Session has played in 122 career games, tied for fourth-most in program history. He has also been a part of 81 wins, tied for the fourth-best four-year stretch in program history.
- Georgia State has posted a winning record in five consecutive seasons, tied for the longest stretch in program history.
Following the game on Thursday, Georgia State will conclude the regular season hosting South Alabama on Saturday at 2:15 p.m., in the GSU Sports Arena.
• Georgia State and Troy will meet for the 34th time on Thursday with the Panthers leading the series 18-15.
• Despite a tough 89-81 loss at UT Arlington on Saturday, the Panthers have clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s Sun Belt Conference tournament in New Orleans. It marks the fourth time in the last five years that GSU is either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the tournament.
• Against the Mavericks, D’Marcus Simonds became the 20th Panther in program history to score 1,000 career points. He accomplished the feat in just 58 games, tied for the fifth-quickest in program history. He is currently ranked No. 20 on the all-time list just four points shy of Chris Collier for No. 19.
• Simonds recorded his 223rd field goal of the year on Feb. 22, to break the record held by Ryan Harrow.
• Simonds has scored in double figures in 46-straight games dating back to last season and has four 30-plus performances this year.
• Malik Benlevi and D’Marcus Simonds are tied for the team lead with five double-doubles each this year.
• With two games to play, Simonds has 620 points scored, just 66 shy of R.J. Hunter’s school record of 688.
• Simonds is averaging 21.4 points per game which is currently the best single-season scoring average in school history. He is currently ranked No. 22 in the NCAA in scoring.
• Georgia State’s 20-9 start is tied for the third-best 29-game start in program history.
• Georgia State’s 20 wins are tied for the fifth-most in school history. It marks the fourth time in the last five seasons reaching the mark.
• The Panthers have won 64 Sun Belt games since returning to the league in 2013. No other program in the league has more than 61 wins (Louisiana) during that time.
• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 10 in field goal defense (39.9) in the NCAA, No. 38 in blocked shots per game (4.6), No. 53 in scoring defense (67.3) and No. 16 with a turnover margin of 3.5.
• Ron Hunter, GSU’s all-time leader in wins, won his 400th career game on 11/22 against EWU.
• With GSU’s 20 wins, Ron Hunter has led the Panthers to 5-of-the-8 most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons. He has won 20 or more games five times in seven seasons at GSU.
• Jordan Session has now played in 122 games, tied for fourth-most in school history. He has also been a part of 81 wins, tied for the fourth-most for any player in program history.
• Devin Mitchell has made 80 3-pointers this season, tied for the sixth-most in school history. He has three games this year with seven or more 3-pointers.
• Jeff Thomas has made 136 3-pointers in his career, ranked No. 9 on GSU’s all-time list for treys.
• Georgia State’s 3-point field goal percentage (38.2) is currently the best mark in school history, while the 269 3-pointers made is just seven shy of the school record of 276 during the 2000-01 season.
• Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 106 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.