Jacksonville Sports Day

NCAA: Upset in Jacksonville, Georgia State 57, Baylor 56

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Georgia State coach Ron Hunter fell off his rolling stool as he watched his son make a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left.

R.J. Hunter, the two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year, buried a long 3 to cap a 13-0 Georgia State run to end the game, and the 14th-seeded Panthers stunned third-seeded Baylor 57-56 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Baylor did not score after going up 56-44 on two Rico Gathers free throws with 2:53 remaining. R.J. Hunter scored nine straight points to get Georgia State within 56-53.

After Baylor’s Taurean Prince turned the ball over, Isaiah Dennis made 1-of-2 free throws to make it a two-point contest. Kenny Chery missed the front end of a 1-on-1 and T.J. Shipes came down with a key defensive rebound for the Panthers. Shipes then got the assist on Hunter’s 3-pointer.

Prince’s desperation heave from beyond half court was off the mark at the buzzer. Baylor turned the ball over four times during Georgia State’s 13-0 surge. Ron Hunter used a scooter to celebrate Georgia State’s second NCAA Tournament victory and first since 2001. 

He tore his left Achilles tendon while celebrating the Panthers’ victory in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game on Sunday. Hunter scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half for the Panthers (25-9), who will play the winner of Ole Miss-Xavier on Saturday.

Ryann Green and Markus Crider tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively. Prince ended with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Bears (24-10), who advanced to the Sweet 16 last year before falling to Wisconsin. Baylor jumped out to a 16-6 lead, but Georgia State battled back and tied things up at 19.

The Bears took a 33-30 edge into the locker room. With the score tied 42-42, Baylor appeared to put the game away with a 14-2 run. Royce O’Neale and Lester Medford made 3-pointers during the burst that Gathers capped with two free throws for a 56-44 advantage.                                  

Game Notes: Baylor outrebounded the Panthers by a 40-23 margin … The Bears turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 21 Georgia State points … Georgia State improved to 2-2 all-time in the tourney.

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