ATLANTA — Jordon Varnado scored 26 points as Troy took control in the second half to upset Georgia State 83-70 on Thursday night.
Troy (15-15, 9-8) is in a battle for the fourth and final first-round bye in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament which opens March 7 in New Orleans. The Trojans currently are tied with Louisiana-Monroe in fifth place a half-game behind UT Arlington, which concludes its regular season Friday. The Trojans will wrap up their season at Georgia Southern on Saturday.
Georgia State (20-10, 11-6), which has lost four of its last five games after winning 10 in a row, has already clinched the No. 2 seed in the tourney.
Varnado was 10 of 19 from the floor with eight rebounds. Kevin Baker drilled 5 of 8 from distance to total 17 points and Alex Hicks added 12 while pulling down 11 rebounds.
The Panthers drained 7 of 14 from distance in the first half to tie the school record of 276 3-pointers made in a season and took a 42-38 lead into intermission. They totaled 10 of 27 treys for the game.
Trailing 42-38 Varnado slammed home a dunk to start the second half and kick off a 19-5 run to give the Trojans a 57-47 lead with 13:54 remaining. The Trojans continued the push until they took a 73-57 lead at the 6:38 mark.
D’Marcus Simonds led the Panthers with 27 points and Devin Mitchell scored 14.