The Sweet Sixteen. Los Angeles. A chance to continue its Cinderella run as the entire country embraced the story that Georgia State men’s basketball had become. All of that was on the line Saturday night in Jacksonville, but the Panthers were defeated by Xavier, 75-67 in the NCAA tournament’s third round.
The loss brings to a close what a history-making season for the team that included a Sun Belt title and a win in the tournament’s second round.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 22, 2015
“I told [the players] not to be sad,” Head Coach Ron Hunter said to the media after the game. “What a great week. Unbelievable week. Especially for me, I’ll be honest with you. It was the greatest week of my life.”
Georgia State received a major outpouring of support from fans who made the short drive to Jacksonville to see their team play in the round of 32 vs. its Big East opponent from Cincinnati. Early on, it appeared the Musketeers would run away with the game and cruise its way to Southern California. They led 15-4 early before the Panthers came back, cutting their deficit to as little as two points, trailing 30-28 with under a minute to play in the first half. Xavier took a 32-28 advantage into halftime.
— Daniel Wilson (@GStateBlueMan) March 21, 2015
The Panthers managed to pull even with the Musketeers early in the second half, as they tied the game at 38. Eventually second-half shooting for Xavier was the difference. They shot over 80 percent from the field in the second half, spelling defeat for Georgia State.
|Georgia State||R.J. Hunter: 20 points, 3-8 threes, 6-15 shooting||Markus Crider: 10 points, 5-8 shooting||Curtis Washington: eight points, 4-5 shooting||Kevin Ware: eight points, 3-4 shooting||T.J. Shipes: eight points|
|Xavier||Jalen Reynolds: 21 points, 8-9 shooting||Myles Davis: 17 points, 5-8 threes||Dee Davis: 15 points, 8-9 free throws||Matt Stainbrook: nine points, 4-5 shooting||Remy Abell: 4-5 free throws|
After the game, fans, students, faculty, alumni, and even Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed took to social media, thanking the team for what this season meant to Georgia State and to the city.
— Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) March 22, 2015
— Sally Polhamus (@sallyspo) March 22, 2015
We may be out, but we’re still winners in my book. #GoGSUPanthers
— Maryam Shumate (@maryamdogo) March 22, 2015
— Amanda Scott (@GSUAmanda) March 22, 2015