NEW ORLEANS -- Jeff Thomas scored 19 points, D'Marcus Simonds added 17 with eight rebounds and seven assists and No. 2 seed Georgia State clobbered defending champion Troy 73-51 in the quarterfinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Friday.
Georgia State (22-10) advances to Saturday's semifinal for the second year in a row and will face No. 3 seed Georgia Southern. Georgia State has been a second seed or higher in four of the last five seasons.
Although Troy (16-17) came into this year's event as a No. 7 seed, the Trojans beat Georgia State twice in conference play, by two and by 13 points. There was no charmed third time as Troy was held to 14-of-45 shooting (31 percent) with 15 turnovers on Friday. The Trojans were 5-of-22 in the first half.
Simonds was named Sun Belt Player of the Year. The Panthers led wire-to-wire, posting a 37-19 lead at the half and going up by 25 near the end. Georgia State shot 14 of 27 in the first half, 15 of 30 in the second to shoot 51 percent for the game.
Jordon Varnado scored 15 points with nine rebounds to lead Troy.