What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State topped in-state rival Georgia Southern 83-66 in front of a sell-out crowd at the GSU Sports Arena on Saturday.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds recorded his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
* The Panthers won for the fifth-straight time and have not lost to the Eagles at home since 1992.
ATLANTA-Led by a double-double from sophomore D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State earned an 83-66 win over in-state rival Georgia Southern before a sell-out crowd at the GSU Sports Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Simonds finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for his third double-double of the year.
Georgia State (14-6, 5-2 Sun Belt) won for the fifth-straight time and defeated Georgia Southern (14-6, 5-2 Sun Belt) for the eighth-straight time in the GSU Sports Arena. It marked the fourth-straight year the game in Atlanta has been a sell-out.
At 14-6, the Panthers are off to the second-best start to a season in program history.
Senior Isaiah Williams came off the bench to score 16 points, going 7-of-8 from the free throw line. He scored the 1,000th point of his career early in the first half.
Ike Smith led Georgia Southern with 16 points and seven rebounds, but could not help the Eagles overcome just 27.5 percent shooting in the second half.
“What a great game and a great environment,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Our fans gave us some incredible energy in the second half. We needed that. It picked our guys up to play some of the best defense I have seen all season.”
Hunter, who was coaching barefoot to raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet, improved to 11-0 when coaching without shoes. It marked the 11th-straight year coaching a game barefoot to raise awareness for the 300 million children around the world who wake up without shoes each day.
Georgia Southern took an early 11-7 lead following a 3-pointer by Mike Hughes with 14:25 to play in the first half.
The Eagles pushed the lead to as many as seven before the Panthers took control of the opening 20 minutes.
Trailing 21-16, Isaiah Williams knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give GSU a 22-21 lead. With 7:46 to play, he knocked down a pair of free throws to give him 1,000 career points. The Panthers pushed the run to 10-0 on a Simonds jumper to lead 26-21 with 7:05 to play.
Georgia State led by as many as eight, 33-25, following another two free throws by Williams before Georgia Southern mounted a comeback to tie the game 35-35 with 1:32 to play in the half.
The Eagles went into the locker room leading 38-37 after going 9-of-16 from 3-point range in the opening half.
Georgia Southern built a 51-48 lead early in the second half before Thomas knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Panthers a 54-51 lead with 13:49 to play.
The Eagles cut Georgia State’s lead to 58-55 before Mitchell knocked down a 3-pointer and then a fast-break dunk by Simonds gave GSU a 63-55 lead with 9:50 to play, forcing Georgia Southern to call timeout.
Another 3-pointer by Williams pushed the lead into double figures for the first time, 66-55, with just over nine minutes to play and the rout was on.
Georgia State finished the game on a 17-8 run, shooting 54.8 percent in the second half and 50.9 percent for the game. The Panthers went 13-of-27 from 3-point range and 12-of-16 from the free throw line.
Montae Glenn just missed a double-double for the Eagles with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Georgia State will remain at home to host Sun Belt preseason favorite UT Arlington on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.