What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State will look to win an eighth-straight game on Thursday traveling to face Arkansas State.
* The Panthers are shooting 37.8 percent from 3-point range which is currently the best mark in school history.
* Georgia State's 16-6 start to the season is the second-best 22-game start in program history.


MEMPHIS-Looking for a ninth-straight win, Georgia State will conclude a two-game road trip to Arkansas facing Little Rock on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET in the Jack Stephens Center.

Georgia State (17-6, 8-2 Sun Belt) topped Arkansas State 77-66 on Thursday to up the winning streak to the third-longest in program history. It is also currently tied for the 12th-longest in the NCAA. At 17-6, the Panthers are off to the second-best start to a season in program history.

Little Rock (5-18, 2-8 Sun Belt) has lost two-straight to the Panthers including a 73-64 decision in Atlanta last month that was the first win of Georgia State’s current winning streak.

Saturday’s contest can be heard live on 1340 The Fan 3/103.7 FM, 1230 The Fan 2/106.3 FM 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. Live statistics and live audio will be available at GeorgiaStateSports.com and on most mobile devices.

“It was a great win last night, but we have to quickly turn our attention to Little Rock,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Despite their record, they are a very good team who always plays well again us. Our guys know what is at stake and will be prepared when we step on the court Saturday night.”

Georgia State enters play ranked first in the league in turnover margin (+4.2), field goal percentage defense (38.9) and blocked shots (4.8), along with second in scoring defense (65.0) and steals (7.8). The Panthers’ scoring defense is ranked No. 27 in the NCAA, while the field goal percentage defense is No. 7.

However, the Panthers’ offense is equally good. Georgia State is first in 3-point field goal percentage (38.0), second in field goal percentage (45.6) and third in 3-point field goals made per game (8.9).

Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Saturday averaging 21.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. His points per game total is currently the best total in school history. He has scored in double-figures in 40-straight games after finishing with a team-high 21 points and nine rebounds against Arkansas State.

Simonds earned Sun Belt Player of the Week honors after his performances against the Texas schools which included his fourth double-double of the season and a pair of 20-plus point performances.

Simonds is one of four Panthers scoring in double figures. Junior Jeff Thomas is averaging 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from 3-point range.

Junior Devin Mitchell is third on the team averaging 10.7 points per game. He has made a team-high 55 3-pointers and is shooting 41.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Junior Malik Benlevi and senior Jordan Session round out the starters. Benlevi is averaging 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while Session adds 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. Benlevi recorded his third double-double of the year on Thursday with 13 points and 10 rebounds in Jonesboro.

Notes:

  • Simonds 21.3 points per game scoring average ranks No. 21 in the NCAA and his total points scored (489) is No. 13. He has made 182 total field goals which ranks 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 has played in 116 career games, the 10th-most in program history.
  • Georgia State’s 38.0 3-pointer percentage would set a school record if the season ended today. The 204 3-pointers made ranks eighth-most in program history.
  • Jeff Thomas has scored in double figures in 12-straight games.
  • Despite just being a sophomore, D’Marcus Simonds is just 46 points shy of moving into the top 25 in program history.

Following the game on Saturday, Georgia State will return home to face first-place Louisiana on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. in a match-up of the top two teams in the Sun Belt.

Quick Notes:

• Georgia State and Little Rock will meet for the 26th time and second time this season on Saturday with the Panthers having won five of the last eight.

• GSU earned a 73-64 win over the Red Wolves in Atlanta on Jan. 4, the first game of GSU’s winning streak.

• GSU is coming off a 77-66 win over Arkansas State on Thursday to win for the eighth-straight time.

• GSU’s eight-straight wins are tied for the third-longest streak in program history and is tied for the 12th-longest streak in the nation.

• Georgia State finished the month of January undefeated at 7-0. It marked the eighth month in program history going undefeated and just third in which five or more games were played.

• D’Marcus Simonds was named Sun Belt Player of the Week on Monday for the second time this season and the third time in his career.

• Georgia State’s 17-6 start is tied for the second-best 23-game start in program history.

• The Panthers moved back into the CollegeInsider Mid-Major Top 25 on Monday at No. 22.

• Georgia State won nine non-conference games this year, tied for the most in program history.

• The Panthers have won 61 Sun Belt games since returning to the league in 2013. No other program in the league has more than 55 wins during that time.

• D’Marcus Simonds has scored in double figures in 40-straight games dating back to last season.

• Simonds is averaging 21.3 points per game which is currently the best single-season scoring average in school history. He is currently ranked No. 21 in the NCAA in scoring.

• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 27 in scoring defense (65.0) in the NCAA, No. 7 in field goal defense (38.9), No. 13 with a turnover margin of 4.2, and No. 32 in turnovers at just 11.4 per game.

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

• Hunter has led GSU to 4-of-the-7 most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons.

Isaiah Williams played in his 100th career game this year and scored his 1,000th career point against Georgia Southern on Jan. 20.

Jordan Session has now played in 116 games, 10th most in school history. He has also been a part of 78 wins, the sixth-most for any player in program history.

• Georgia State’s field goal percentage defense (38.9) is currently the third-best mark in school history.

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