What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will face Arkansas State for the first of two games this season on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds leads the Panthers averaging 21.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
* Georgia State enters play ranked No. 11 in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 4.9 and No. 11 in total steals with 141.
ATLANTA-Looking to build off momentum from a big win on Thursday, Georgia State will host Arkansas State on Saturday in the GSU Sports Arena at 2:15 p.m.
Georgia State (10-6, 1-2 Sun Belt) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 73-64 win over Little Rock on Thursday night. Senior Jordan Session just missed a double-double and sophomore D’Marcus Simonds scored a team-high 19 points in the win.
At 10-6, the Panthers are off to the fourth-best start to a season in program history after tying the school record for the most non-conference wins in school history.
Arkansas State (6-10, 1-2 Sun Belt) comes in following a tough 80-49 loss at Georgia Southern on Thursday. The Red Wolves are led by Deven Simms who is averaging 16.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Saturday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM with Dave Cohen, now in his 35th year as the Voice of the Panthers, being joined by 680 The Fan’s Brandon Leak. The game will also air on the WatchESPN platform for a third-straight year with Sam Crenshaw and former Panther Rodney “Truck” Turner calling the action. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.
Saturday afternoon will also mark the fourth 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.
This marks the second-straight year Georgia State has started conference play 1-2. Last year it resulted in a second-place finish and 12 Sun Belt wins.
“Our guys never went into panic mode after the two losses last week,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “We know what we need to do to reach out goals. The next step in that process is getting a win over a good Arkansas State team on Saturday. We need to continue to play the type of defense we are capable of and not turn the ball over.”
Georgia State enters play ranked first in the league in turnover margin (+4.9) and steals (8.8), along with second in field goal percentage defense (39.9), blocked shots (4.6) and scoring defense (65.4). The Steals per game total ranks No. 18 in the NCAA, while the turnover margin is No. 11.
However, the Panthers’ offense is equally good. Georgia State is second in 3-point field goal percentage (37.2) and fourth in 3-point field goals made per game (8.8) after knocking down 10 on Thursday night.
Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is Simonds who enters Saturday averaging 21.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. His points per game total would tie a school-record if the season ended today. The reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year has scored in double figures in 33-straight games dating back to last year.
Simonds is one of three Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Devin Mitchell is second on the team averaging 11.6 points per game. He has made a team-high 43 3-pointers and is shooting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Junior Malik Benlevi rounds out the group and is averaging 10.3 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game, shooting a 76.5 percent from the free throw line. He is second in the Sun Belt with 34.0 minutes played per game, only behind Simonds.
- Simonds 21.1 points per game scoring average
isNo. 29 in the NCAA and his total points scored (338) ranks No. 12. He has made 121 total field goals which rank No. 6 in the country.
- Simonds ranks in the top four in the Sun Belt in scoring, assists, steals and minutes played.
- Seniors Jordan Session and Isaiah Williams have both reached the 100 career games played mark this season. Last year three Panthers accomplished the mark.
- Isaiah Williams enters play needing just 38 points for 1,000 in his career.
Following the game on Saturday, Georgia State will return to the road to face Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
• Georgia State and Arkansas State will meet for the 11th time on Saturday.
• The Panthers and Red Wolves met just once last year with A-State earning a 78-67 win in Jonesboro.
• Georgia State owns a 3-1 record over Arkansas State in Atlanta with the lone loss coming in 1995.
• GSU is coming off a 73-64 win over Little Rock on Thursday to improve to 5-1 at home this season.
• Four Panthers scored in double figures against Little Rock, as Jordan Session just missed a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
• Georgia State’s 10-6 start is tied for the fourth-best 16-game start in program history.
• Georgia State won nine non-conference games this year, tied for the most in program history.
• The Panthers have won 54 Sun Belt games since returning to the league in 2013. No other program in the league has more than 49 wins during that time.
• Sophomore D’Marcus Simonds has a pair of double-doubles already this season and has scored in double figures in 33-straight games.
• Simonds is averaging 21.1 points per game which would tie a school record if the season ended today. He is currently ranked No. 29 in the NCAA in scoring.
• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 11 in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 4.9 and No. 11 in total steals with 141.
• Ron Hunter, GSU’s all-time leader in wins, won his 400th career game on 11/22 against EWU.
• Hunter has led the Panthers to four of the seven most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons.
• Isaiah Williams played in his 100th career game earlier this year. He is 38 pts. shy of 1,000 for his career.
• Williams, along with Jordan Session have both surpassed 100 career games played this season.
• Georgia State was picked to finish second in the annual Sun Belt Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
• The Panthers have won 20 or more games in three of the last four seasons, advancing to postseason play in each of those years.
• Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Panthers have won 95 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.
• Following today’s game, Georgia State returns to the road and travel to Boone, N.C., to face Appalachian State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.