GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman-All five scorers finished in double figures and Georgia State dominated Georgia 91-67 to earn third place in the Cayman Islands Classic on Wednesday night at John Gray Gym.
Senior Malik Benlevi led the Panthers with 24 points, going 8-of-11 from 3-point range as the Panthers topped the Bulldogs for the third time in the last four tries dating back to 2000.
Georgia State (4-2) shot 55.7 percent from the floor and 56.0 percent from 3-point range to earn the Panthers largest-margin of victory ever over a Power 5 school. GSU also handed Georgia (3-3) its worst non-conference loss since a 76-42 defeat to Illinois in 2008.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds added 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds to earn All-Tournament honors, while redshirt-junior Damon Wilson also poured in 17 points.
“That was a really good program win,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I thought our guys were absolutely incredible defensively. After that loss last night, I thought our guys could have come back and played at midnight. We wanted to come out and make a statement and there is no doubt that they did.”
Trailing 14-11 early, Georgia State used a 12-0 run to take a 23-14 lead with 11:59 to play, forcing Georgia to call timeout.
Georgia State pushed the lead to 33-18 on a 3-pointer by senior Jeff Thomas with 10:13 to play in the first half and led 40-22 with 8:27 remaining making 14 of 15 shots at one point.
Another Benlevi 3-pointer gave GSU a 51-30 lead with just over two minutes to play in the opening 20 minutes, as the Panthers went into the locker room with a 51-32 lead.
The Panthers shot 54.3 percent in the opening half, including 8-of-16 from 3-point range. Georgia turned the ball over 15 times which led to 17 GSU points.
The second half was no different. Wilson came out red-hot scoring the first 10 points of the second half for Georgia State, including a pair of 3-pointers. Another 3-pointer by Benlevi gave Georgia State a 30 point lead, 72-42, with 13:01 to play.
The Panthers shot 57.7 percent in the second half, going 6-of-9 from 3-point range. Georgia State finished the game shooting 55.7 percent and connected on 14-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Benlevi’s eight 3-pointers tied for the seventh-most in a single game in program history, while the 72.7 percent mark from beyond the arc is the fourth-best mark in a single-game.
Thomas added 12 points for Georgia State on four 3-pointers, while sophomore Kane Williams, coming off a career-high 20 points last night, finished with 14 points and seven assists.
Georgia was led by Derek Ogbeide who scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Jordan Harris came off the bench to score 12 points and grab five rebounds.
The Bulldogs shots 47.2 percent from the floor, but just 5-of-18 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 18 times.
Georgia State will return to Atlanta and start preparation for a trip to New Orleans next week to face Tulane. The Panthers will face the Green Wave on Nov. 28 at 1 p.m. ET.