Preview: Men’s basketball in Hanner for the final time this season

Emotions were scattered in Hanner Fieldhouse as the Georgia Southern Eagles fall short to the Georgia State Panthers 90-85 Friday night. 

Amanda Arnold

The Georgia Southern men’s basketball team will battle the Georgia State Panthers in a showdown to break the tie for first place in the Sun Belt conference Saturday night.

The Panthers are currently 21-9 and 12-5 in the Sun Belt compared to the Eagles’ 20-10 and 12-5. They are on a two game winning streak coming into Hanner Fieldhouse, after a 13 point win over Little Rock.

State is led by junior guard D’Marcus Simonds who scored his season high 29 points against GS in their first match in GSU Arena. He was the 2017 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, he holds three Sun Belt Player of the Week honors, and is the reigning 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament MVP. He is averaging about 19 points per game and five rebounds.

Senior forwards Jeff Thomas and Malik Benlevi both average about twelve points a game and have been known to rise to the occasion during big games.

When leading at halftime, GSU has a 19-0 record, while GS has a pattern of making huge second half comeback campaigns.

GS, on a six game winning streak, is led by senior guard Tookie Brown. In what could be has last game in Hanner Fieldhouse, he is averaging about 18 point per game and leaves as one of the standouts in the conference. Freshman guard Calvin Wishart has also been a standout this season while averaging 5.4 points per game and shooting 0.374 percent from the floor in his 17.9 minutes played per game.

This game is vital in determining seeding for the Sun Belt conference tournament, as the number one seed could go to either GS, GSU or Texas State depending on how each team plays their final game.

Tip off is set for 5 p.m. Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse, and the match will be streamed on ESPN+.

Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Sports Reporter,