Release from Georgia State Athletics:
Led by 25 points from freshman D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State cruised to an 83-72 win over Appalachian State on Monday night at the GSU Sports Arena. The Panthers won for the fourth-straight time while shooting 56.9 percent from the floor.
Simonds missed his career-high by just one point and scored 24 or more for the second time in three games. He went 10-of-16 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line with five steals and four rebounds.
Georgia State (12-7, 5-2 Sun Belt) maintained its second-place spot in the Sun Belt standings, while Appalachian State (6-12, 1-6 Sun Belt) lost for the third-straight time despite 22 points from Tyrell Johnson.
A game after hitting 15 3-pointers, Georgia State went inside and outscored the Mountaineers 56-18 in the paint.
Sophomore Malik Benlevi added 10 points, while Jeremy Hollowell, Isaiah Williams and Isaiah Dennis scored nine points each. Hollowell is now just three points shy of 1,000 for his career.
“It was a good win as I thought that Appalachian State played really tough,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I thought we were a little tired and didn’t play with the same enthusiasm we did the other night. However, we got the win at home which we needed. D’Marcus was outstanding and made plays when we needed him to tonight.”
Appalachian State took an early 10-4 leading, knocking down its first four shots before Georgia State responded to take its first lead of the game, 13-12, with 12:23 remaining in the first half.
Georgia State’s offense started to heat up and after Dennis hit a pair of shots in the lane to key a 6-0 run, the Panthers led 24-19 with 6:56 to play.
The Panthers went into the locker room leading 39-32, shooting 56.7 percent from the floor and forcing the Mountaineers into 13 first half turnovers.
Leading by 10 early in the second half, Georgia State double its lead to 57-37 following a 10-0 run that was capped by a pair of Jeff Thomas free throws with 14:03 remaining.
Appalachian State used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 64-54 with 9:13 to play before back-to-back lay-ups by Simonds. The Mountaineers got as close as nine points, 70-61, with 5:29 to play.
Georgia State responded and pushed the lead back to as many as 15 points in the final minutes of the game.
Ronshad Shabazz, coming off a career-high 36 points on Saturday against Georgia Southern, finished with 18, while Patrick Good came off the bench to add 15.
Georgia State held the Mountaineers to just 39.3 percent shooting, the fourth-straight game holding an opponent under 40 percent. The Panthers swiped 11 steals and forced App State into 17 turnovers which led to 17 points.