ATLANTA - Georgia State scored a season-high 117 points defeating Middle Georgia State 117-69 Saturday at GSU Sports Arena in its final game before Sun Belt Conference play begins next week. With the victory, the Panthers tied a school record with nine wins before conference play, a mark they’ve reached three times before, including last season.

In a dominant, record-setting performance, the Panthers made a season-high 16 3-pointers, shooting 47.1 percent (16-for-34). The team’s 117 points was the fourth-most in school history and the 48-point win was the second-highest margin of victory in school history. The 69 points scored in the second half tied for the third-most in program history.

Devin Mitchell led six players in double-figures for Georgia State (9-4), scoring 21 points with a season-high seven 3-pointers. Since returning from injury, Mitchell has knocked down 21 3-pointers in the last five games. He also picked up the 150th 3-pointer of his career on Saturday.

Freshman Nelson Phillips scored a career-high 20 points off the bench, shooting 7-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. Senior Malik Benlevi and redshirt-junior Damon Wilson contributed 16 points apiece, while junior D’Marcus Simonds scored 13 and Jeff Thomas added 11. It marked the second time this season that six Panthers have scored in double figures in the same game.

Tyrone Young scored 11 points for Middle Georgia State (7-4), the only player the Panthers allowed to score in double-figures. The Knights were held to 34.3 percent shooting and turned the ball over 21 times which led to 32 Georgia State points.

“Really proud of the way we finished off non-conference play,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “The last two years coming out of the holiday break, I thought we were flat and it cost us. After a little bit of a slow start today, I thought we were hitting on all cylinders. Our starters did what they always do, but our bench really stepped up and played well. We now move onto conference play looking to defend our title.”

Middle Georgia State kept things close in the first half, leading by as many as five with 11 minutes left, but Phillips came off the bench and sparked the Panthers, scoring 10 points on 4-for-5 from the field in the half, as a 13-2 run helped the Panthers jump in front, taking a 48-37 lead into halftime.

Georgia State started the second half on a 10-0 run and never looked back, outscoring Middle Georgia State 69-32 in the half. Mitchell caught fire for the Panthers, scoring 18 of his 21 points in the second half, finishing 7-for-13 from deep.

Simonds moved into fifth on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list, passing Chavelo Holmes. He now has 1,387 points, just six shy of Devonta White for fourth. He also moved into 10th in assists with 259, passing Rodney Hamilton.

With the win, the Panthers improved to 5-0 at home this year, having won six-straight home games dating back to last season.

Georgia State will open Sun Belt play on Thursday at UT Arlington in a rematch of last year’s conference championship game. Tip is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN+.

Notes:

  • Georgia State finished calendar year 2018 with a 25-9 record.
  • Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (119) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
  • Georgia State finished the game going 19-of-22 from the free throw line, the fifth-straight game shooting 71.0 percent or better from the charity stripe.
  • During the last five games, the Panthers are 76-of-99 (76.7 percent) from the free throw line.