ATLANTA-After an impressive road trip sweep to open conference play, Georgia State will host Sun Belt Conference rival Louisiana on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena looking for a 16th-straight win in the month of January.
Georgia State (11-4, 2-0 Sun Belt) has not lost a game in the month of January since 2017 and welcomes Louisiana (10-5, 1-1 Sun Belt) whom the Panthers have defeated five straight times and seven of the last eight.
The Panthers enter playing having won four straight and six of eight, to go along with a six-game home court winning streak dating back to last year.
Thursday’s contest can be heard live on WAOK-AM 1380 with Dave Cohen, now in his 36th year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by former Panther Lamont McIntosh calling the action. The game will also air live on ESPN+ 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.
All five Georgia State starters are currently averaging in double figures, while defensively the Panthers rank No. 26 in the NCAA in steals and No. 27 in blocked shots.
“It was great to get a road sweep to start Sun Belt play, but it is even more important to hold serve at home,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “As always, Louisiana is one of the best teams in the league and they will come in here hungry for a road win. We need to continue to play excellent defense while getting our offense going which struggled at times last weekend.”
Since returning from injury, senior Devin Mitchell has shown why he is one of the best shooters in the country. After missing the first seven games, Mitchell has returned to average 12.4 points per game while shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range, making just under four per contest.
Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, is sixth in the league averaging 18.6 points per game. He stands in fourth-place on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 1,409 points after moving ahead of Devonta White last week. His career scoring averaging of 17.8 points per game ranks No. 18 among all active NCAA players.
Senior Malik Benlevi, who has knocked down a team-high 37 3-pointers, is averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, shooting 42.0 from beyond the arc. Senior Jeff Thomas is adding 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest and currently stands fifth in program history with 173 3-pointers. Last time out he moved into the top 25 on Georgia State’s all-time scoring list with 935 points.
Sophomore Kane Williams rounds out the starting line-up and is averaging 10.5 points and 3.6 assists per game while ranking No. 49 in the nation in steals with 2.0 per contest.
Georgia State has made 141 3-pointers this season, an average of 9.4 per game which ranks second in the Sun Belt and No. 47 in the NCAA after setting and school and conference record with 323 last season. The Panthers have made 14 or more 3-pointers in a game three times this season.
- Since head coach Ron Hunter’s arrival, the Panthers are 10-3 against schools from Louisiana in the GSU Sports Arena, including a 4-1 mark against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
- Georgia State’s 11-4 start to the season is tied for the second-best 15-game start in program history.
- Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won more games (121) than any other NCAA Division I team in the state of Georgia.
- Georgia State’s last loss in the month of January came at home against Troy on Jan. 9, 2017.
Following Thursday’s game, Georgia State will remain at home to face Sun Belt foe UL Monroe on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena. Tickets can be purchased by visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.