Georgia State advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament by defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 86-76 on Friday night in New Orleans.
After going on a 21-7 to run in the first half, the Panthers never looked back, leading by as many as 15 points. D’Marcus Simonds led the Panthers with 17 points and Jay Wright led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 27 points.
The Panthers will play the winner of the Georgia Southern-Troy matchup, which was played later Friday night, at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Here are three things to know from the Panthers’ victory:
1. Georgia State’s defense remained stout.
The Panthers’ defense has shined all season and Friday night they continued that trend, holding the Ragin’ Cajuns to 38 percent from the field. The Ragin’ Cajuns also were held to 19 percent from 3-point range. The Panthers dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Ragin’ Cajuns 44 to 31, and scored 13 second-chance points.
2. The Panthers took advantage at the charity stripe.
Panthers entered the game with a mission to dominate the paint. They did just that, scoring 36 points in the paint and getting to the free-throw line 37 times. They shot 73 percent from the line and were in the bonus with more than 10 minutes left in the second half. Both teams had 51 fouls combined.
3. Starters shined on offense.
The Panthers’ offense usually is usually saved by the bench, but Friday night the starters needed little help from the bench. The starters combined for 67 points, and four of their starters scored in double figures. Simonds led the way with 17 points, Jeremy Hollowell had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Malik Benlevi scored 15 points and Isaiah Williams scored 14. The Panthers shot 49 percent from the field and turned the ball over only 12 times.