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Georgia State Panthers embark on 5-game road trip starting at tough UD Arena tonight

 

Ron Hunter head coach, Dayton native played at nearby Miami of Ohio

D'Marcus Simonds, star player can drop 30 points on any team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATLANTA-Looking to continue one of its best starts in program history, Georgia State will begin a stretch of five-straight games on the road at Dayton on Saturday night. Tip-off between the Panthers and Flyers is set for 7 p.m. in UD Arena.

Georgia State has won four of its last five games and the 7-3 start is tied for the third-best 10-game beginning to a season in program history. Dayton enters play at 4-5 and has lost three of its last four with two of those coming to SEC opponents.

This will mark the first of two-straight games against opponents from the Atlantic 10 Conference and the first-ever with Dayton.

Despite being the visitor’s on the scoreboard, this will serve as a “home game” for head coach Ron Hunter who hails from Dayton. Hunter attended Chaminade-Julienne High School before going on to play collegiately at Miami (Ohio).

Hunter, who picked up his 400th career win earlier this year, is already Georgia State’s all-time winningest coach, despite this being just his seventh season at the helm of the Panthers.

“I’m pleased that we can bring our team back to a city that means a lot to me,” Hunter said. “Dayton was a great place to grow up and will always be special to me. With that said, this is a business trip for us and we will be playing a very good Dayton team. Despite their record, they are one of the top teams in the A-10 and will be playing in front of a packed UD Arena.”

Georgia State enters play ranked No. 12 in the NCAA with a 5.8 turnover margin, along with the No. 30 scoring defense (62.9 ppg) and No. 33 field goal percentage defense (38.5 percent) in the country.

Among Georgia State’s most potent offensive options is sophomore D’Marcus Simonds who enters Saturday averaging 20.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. The reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year has scored 30 or more points in two of the last three games, including a career-high 35 points against Liberty last week.

The Panthers are scoring 72.9 points per game while holding opponents to just 62.9 points per contest. Equally remarkable, Georgia State has forced 176 turnovers, while turning the ball over just 118 times.

Notes:

  • Seniors Jordan Session and Isaiah Williams have both reached the 100 career games played mark this season. Last year three Panthers accomplished the mark.
  • Session, along with Simonds and Benlevi are all among the top six in the Sun Belt in steals per game.
  • Simonds and Benlevi rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the Sun Belt in minutes played per game.
  • Georgia State ranks first in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and turnover margin, along with second in steals.
  • The Panthers have started 7-3 in two of the last three years.

Quick Notes:

• Georgia State’s 7-3 start is tied for the third-best 10-game start in program history.

• GSU is coming off a 90-70 victory over Point on Tuesday and has won four of its last five games.

• Simonds has scored in double figures in 27-straight games, among the top 20 longest streaks in the country.

• Simonds, who was named the College Sports Madness Sun Belt Player of the Week on Monday, has scored 30+ in two of the last three games.

• With a win on Saturday, GSU would improve to 8-3 for the second time in the last three years.

• Georgia State enters play ranked No. 12 in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 5.8.

• Head coach Ron Hunter, Georgia State’s all-time leader in wins, won the 400th game of his career on Nov. 20 against Eastern Washington.

• Hunter has led the Panthers to four of the seven most successful seasons in program history, including a pair of 25-win seasons.

• This will serve as a “home” game for Hunter who grew up in Dayton and attended Chaminade-Julienne High School.

• Senior Isaiah Williams played in his 100th career game last Saturday. He is also just 69 points 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.

• Georgia State is currently receiving votes in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 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 93 games, the most of any NCAA Division 1 program in the state of Georgia.

 

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF GEORGIA STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS