What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will face South Alabama on Saturday afternoon in the GSU Sports Arena at 2:15 p.m., in the final game of the regular season.
* Before the game, seniors Jordan Session and Isaiah Williams will be honored before playing their final games at Georgia State.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds is just 41 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 South Alabama on Saturday afternoon in the GSU Sports Arena at 2:15 p.m. It will mark the final day of the regular season and the last home game for seniors Jordan Session and Isaiah Williams.
Georgia State (20-10, 11-6 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.
South Alabama (14-16, 7-10 Sun Belt) has lost four-straight entering play but opened conference play with a win over the Panthers back in December. The Jaguars are led by Rodrick Sikes who is averaging 18.7 points per game.
Georgia State’s 20 wins are tied for the fifth-most in school history. The Panthers have made 279 3-pointers this year, the most in program history, while the Georgia State’s 3-point field goal percentage (38.2) is the best mark in school history.
Saturday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM 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.
Saturday will also mark the last 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 Avenue 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 home game of the season with a 10-3 mark at home this year and a 57-10 mark in the GSU Sports Arena over the last five seasons.
“For us to be successful on Saturday and in the conference tournament next week, we have to get back to playing the type of championship defense that we did earlier this year, it is as simple as that,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “When we play defense the way we can, we can play with anyone in the country. Unfortunately, we have not been the same team defensively since the Louisiana game.”
Georgia State enters play ranked first in the league in field goal percentage defense (40.0), turnover margin (+3.4) and blocked shots (4.7), along with second in scoring defense (67.8) 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 (9.3), along with second in field goal percentage (46.1).
Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Saturday averaging 21.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He has scored in double-figures in 47-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 currently stands No. 18 on the career scoring list with 1,035 points.
Simonds is one of four Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Devin Mitchell is second on the team averaging 12.3 points per game, having knocked down 83 3-pointers, tied with Thomas Terrell for the fifth-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 4.5 rebounds per game. He has made 138 3-pointers in his career, eighth-most in program history.
Junior Malik Benlevi and senior Jordan Session round out the normal starters. Benlevi is averaging 10.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while Session adds 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Benlevi, along with Simonds have each recorded five double-doubles this season, while Session has garnered three.
Isaiah Williams is expected to start on senior day for his final home game at the GSU Sports Arena. He is averaging 6.3 points per game this year while shooting 86.1 percent from the free throw line.
- D’Marcus Simonds has made 244 total field goals this year which ranks in the top 10 in the country.
- Senior Jordan Session has played in 123 career games, 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 Saturday, Georgia State will open the Sun Belt Conference tournament next Friday at 6 p.m. ET facing the winner of Wednesday’s No. 7/10 match-up in New Orleans.
• Georgia State and South Alabama will meet for the 28th time on Saturday with USA leading the series 15-12.
• Despite a tough 83-70 loss against Troy on Thursday, 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 Trojans, D’Marcus Simonds scored 27 points to move into second-place on the single-season scoring list with 647 points. He trails R.J. Hunter’s school record of 688 by 41 entering Saturday.
• Against the UT Arlington, 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. 18 on the all-time list just six points shy of Trae Goldston for No. 17.
• 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 47-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.
• Simonds is averaging 21.6 points per game which is currently the best single-season scoring average in school history. He is currently ranked among the top 25 in the NCAA in scoring.
• Georgia State’s 20-10 start is tied for the fourth-best 30-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 62 wins (Louisiana) during that time.
• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 10 in field goal defense (40.0) in the NCAA, No. 38 in blocked shots per game (4.6), No. 53 in scoring defense (67.8) 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 123 games, 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 83 3-pointers this season, tied for the fifth-most in school history. He has three games this year with seven or more 3-pointers.
• Jeff Thomas has made 138 3-pointers in his career, ranked No. 8 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 279 3-pointers made broke the school record of 276 set 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.