Panthers seek another upset in clash with Musketeers

Mar 21, 2015 - 2:31 PM Jacksonville, FL ( - Georgia State seeks another miracle win on Saturday evening, as the Panthers battle the Xavier Musketeers in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Panthers, winners of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, are the 14th seed in this year's event although they certainly didn't play like it on Thursday as they knocked out third-seeded Baylor in a thrilling 57-56 final. R.J. Hunter did the honors for GSU as he converted a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with just 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation, a shot that sent father and head coach Ron Hunter sprawling to the floor.

Not one to miss out on the excitement of March Madness himself, Ron Hunter celebrated his team's title in the SBC by tearing his Achilles' tendon and then had to have his ankle recast after it cracked during his actions on the sideline versus the Bears.

While Georgia State was one of several teams to score upsets in the second round of the tourney, the sixth-seeded Musketeers held serve versus Ole Miss by posting a resounding 76-57 victory. It should be noted that the Rebels were playing their second game in three days after defeating BYU in the first round of the tournament.

Xavier is aiming to get to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time since 2008 and the seventh time in program history. The Musketeers won both previous meetings against Georgia State, but the last of those took place more than three decades ago.

The winner of this game heads to the round of 16 and will take on either Ohio State or Arizona.

Just the second NCAA Tournament victory in school history for the Panthers, they can thank Hunter for making it happen as he bounced back from a quiet first half and finished with a 16 points, his game-winning triple completing a 13-0 scoring run for the team. In addition to Hunter, Ryann Green responded with 11 points and Markus Crider tacked on 10 of his own. The win was more surprising given that GSU was playing without Ryan Harrow (18.7 ppg), who is dealing with a strained left hamstring.

Harrow, who is listed as questionable for the bout with Xavier, is not just a huge scoring threat for the Panthers, he is also the second-leading passer with 103 assists, so there's more than one reason to want him back on the floor. Hunter showed that he can put the Panthers on his back, but there is enough pressure already for a youngster who is averaging 19.6 ppg and is tops with 121 assists and 75 steals, not to mention being second on the unit with 4.7 rpg as well.

Less than five minutes in against Ole Miss, the Musketeers had themselves an eight-point lead and from there they never looked back. Matt Stainbrook hit all but two of his 10 field goal attempts in the meeting, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists, followed by Dee Davis with 17 points. James Farr had just six points, but it was his 13 rebounds that loomed large for the program as they beat the Rebels on the glass by a 44-39 margin.

Stainbrook, who is now shooting 61.3 percent from the field on the campaign, not only paces Xavier in the scoring department with 12.2 ppg, he is also tops in rebounding with almost seven per game in that category as well. Trevon Bluiett tacks on 11.5 ppg and Myles Davis 10.5 ppg, which many of the points by those players being set up by Davis (8.7 ppg) and his 212 assists, a number which helps to offset his mere 38.9 percent shooting from the floor.

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