What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will face Sun Belt preseason favorite UT Arlington in the GSU Sports Arena on Thursday night.
* The Panthers have won five-straight and are 7-1 at home this season.
* Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds has scored in double-figures in 37-straight games dating back to last season.


ATLANTA-Coming off an impressive win over an in-state rival on Saturday, Georgia State will turn its attention to the Sun Belt preseason favorite UT Arlington on Thursday as the Mavericks come to the GSU Sports Arena for a 7:15 p.m. tip.

Georgia State (14-6, 5-2 Sun Belt) enters play riding a five-game winning streak following an 83-66 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday.

At 14-6, the Panthers are off to the second-best start to a season in program history. Georgia State earned its 100th win since the start of the 2013-14 season on Saturday, the most of any NCAA Division I program in Georgia.

UT Arlington (13-8, 4-4 Sun Belt) is led by Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year Kevin Hervey who is averaging 20.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Thursday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM, WRAS-FM 88.5 and now WXJO-AM 1120/104.5 FM with Dave Cohen, now in his 35th year as the Voice of the Panthers, and 680 The Fan’s Brandon Leak calling the action. The game will also air live on the WatchESPN platform 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. 

“Despite what the records may say, UT Arlington is a very good team who is going to come in here ready to play,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “However, I think we have a pretty good team as well that is starting to come together the way we hoped. We know that we have to continue to defend our home court if we want to accomplish the goals we set out for ourselves.”

Georgia State enters play ranked first in the league in turnover margin (+4.8) and field goal percentage defense (39.3), along with second in steals (8.1) and blocked shots (4.5). The steals per game total ranks No. 30 in the NCAA, while the turnover margin is No. 9.

However, the Panthers’ offense is equally good. Georgia State is first in 3-point field goal percentage (38.6) and third in 3-point field goals made per game (9.2) after knocking down 13 against Georgia Southern.

Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Thursday averaging 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. His points per game total is currently the second-best total in school history. He has scored in double-figures in 37-straight games dating back to last year.

Simonds is one of four 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 52 3-pointers and is shooting 43.0 percent from beyond the arc, tops in the Sun Belt.

Junior Jeff Thomas is averaging 10.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 39.4 percent from 3-point range after going 5-of-5 from beyond the arc against Georgia Southern.

Junior Malik Benlevi and senior Jordan Session round out the starters. Benlevi is averaging 10.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, while Session adds 6.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest.

Notes:

  • Simonds 21.0 points per game scoring average ranks No. 25 in the NCAA and his total points scored (419) is No. 17. He has made 152 total field goals which ranks No. 15 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 scored the 1,000th point of his career last time out, finishing with a season-high 16 points against Georgia Southern.
  • Jeff Thomas has scored in double figures in nine-straight games.

Following the game on Thursday, Georgia State will conclude its home-stand facing Texas State on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. live on WatchESPN.

Quick Notes:

• Georgia State and UT Arlington, the Sun Belt preseason favorites, will meet for the 11th time on Thursday.

• UTA took the only game in the series last year, a 68-67 victory in Atlanta.

• The Mavericks have won three-straight in the series after Georgia State won four-straight.

• GSU is coming off an 83-66 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday to win for the fifth-straight time.

• D’Marcus Simonds recorded his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Eagles.

• Georgia State has won five-straight home games and are 7-1 at home this season.

• Georgia State’s 14-6 start is tied for the second-best 20-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 58 Sun Belt games since returning to the league in 2013. No other program in the league has more than 53 wins during that time.

• D’Marcus Simonds has scored in double figures in 37-straight games dating back to last season.

• Simonds is averaging 21.0 points per game which is currently tied for the second-best single-season scoring average in school history. He is currently ranked No. 25 in the NCAA in scoring.

• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 9 in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 4.8, No. 18 in field goal defense (39.3) and No. 29 in total steals with 162.

Ron Hunter, GSU’s all-time leader in wins, won his 400th career game on 11/22 against EWU.

• Hunter has led GSU 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 and scored his 1,000th career point against Georgia Southern on Jan. 20.

Jordan Session has now played in 113 games, just outside the top 10 in school history. He has also been a part of 75 wins, the sixth-most for any player in program history.

• 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 100 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.