Georgia State’s astonishing win: As stirring as I’ve ever seen

I wish you could have been here, folks. (Chris O’Meara/AP photo)

Jacksonville, Fla. — In the Georgia State-Baylor game column, I get kind of carried away. I’d apologize, except that I don’t really believe an apology is warranted. An ending like that — for late tuners-in, the Panthers outscored the No. 3 seed 13-0 over the final 2:40, with 12 of those points being scored by R.J. Hunter, the coach’s son — is the reason we watch the NCAA tournament.

Speaking of which: This is the 34th NCAA tournament I’ve covered, and I’ve seen a few things. I saw the Louisville-Kentucky Dream Game of 1983. I saw Lorenzo Charles’ dunk. I saw Villanova make 78.6 percent of its shots. I saw Keith Smart in the Superdome. I saw Duke upset Vegas. I saw both of Georgia Tech’s stirring Final Four runs. But, for heart-tugging stuff, I’ve never seen anything to beat this.

I wish you could have been here, folks. (Chris O'Meara/AP photo)

I wish you could have been here, folks. (Chris O’Meara/AP photo)

The coach’s son hits a 30-footer with 2.8 seconds remaining, inducing the coach — who’s working from a rolling chair due to the torn Achilles suffered in celebration after Georgia State won the Sun Belt tournament — to fall out of his seat. Who writes this script? Who’d believe it if anyone actually did?

As Baylor coach Scott Drew noted (ruefully), he has now been part of the two greatest father-son moments in NCAA tournament history: The Valparaiso hook-and-ladder against Ole Miss that had Bryce Drew, Scott’s brother, hitting the shot that made Homer Drew, Scott’s dad, a winner. (Scott was an assistant coach.)

We still see Bryce Drew’s shot every March — and it happened in 1998, meaning it’s 17 years old — and we’ll be seeing R.J. Hunter’s for years and decades, too. Three hours later, knowing full well what’s going to happen, it’s still stunning to see on replay. To see it happen live … well, it’s one of the reasons I love my job.

It’s not my intent to make this about me and not Georgia State, but there’s a 30-inch column on myajc that deals with the Hunters and the Panthers. One of the reasons folks like me get sent to events like this is to tell y’all how it felt to be there, and I’m here to say it was both a joy and a privilege.

Reader Comments 2

35 comments
GTBob
GTBob

So are you going to write a blog about UGA and how wrong you were about them again?

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Astonishing Georgia State moves on.

Baghead
Baghead

LOL.  Where's my money Bradley??  Great pick.

Armydawg
Armydawg

Great, great win for the Panther Nation!!!  Now its on to Charlotte with our DAWGS and lets win there too!!

Armydawg
Armydawg

Georgia's run to the final four in 83 was the height of college basketball around here. It was a run that included beating UNC in the elite 8.  

MoreorLess
MoreorLess

The  Louisville-Kentucky Dream Game of 1983, was a classic so was the Louisville-Houston game in the final 4 that year. It was a battle of #1 vs #2, one of the greatest final 4 games of all time. In my view, Houston still ranks as one of the great college teams of all time, with Akeem Olajawon, Clyde Drexler and Michael Young, et al

BCW1
BCW1

Congratulations to GSU and lets hope the Dawgs can win as well.

DawgNole
DawgNole

Hey, Mark, I see you slipped in and changed that 16-year-old shot to 17, as I suggested.

You sneaky ol' Dawg you.

Rufus McGillicuddy
Rufus McGillicuddy

Mark, you sound like for brief moments you were not on assignment but simply an excited fan.  That's great. Fantastic job GSU!!  Considering Ware only had 4 points, this team hasn't even reached it's full potential yet. GSU can go further.

Sonic The HedgeHog
Sonic The HedgeHog

I watched some of the Ga Southern game, thought it was so bad that neither team had a chance in the tourney. Guess that is why you play the games. Never now what a heavily favored teams state of mind is.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

Had the good fortune of tuning into the broadcast with just a minute or so left. Have to admit that all I knew about Ga State's team was that the coaches son played on it...my bad. If the young man moves on I will have missed out on on of the best stories ever. Don't know about anybody else, but when young Mr Hunter, calmingly, brought the ball across half-court, with the clock running down, I thought of Jimmy Chitwood and his 'I'll make it!' line at the end of Hoosiers. Of course, unlike Gene Hackman, Coach Hunter didn't have to be told...he already knew. You're right Bradley, it was, and will be, one for the ages...especially if they win another one or two.

RealKat
RealKat

Coach's son, lot of points at the end, stirring victory, with a final score of.....???

jezel
jezel

CONGRATULATIONS Ga. State.....Atlanta is proud of you .Keep representing !!

allblue07
allblue07

What an incredible win. This is how I drew it up in my dreams. Usually those don't become true in real life. This one did. 

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

Congratulations Panthers!!!!! Great win. Great job!!!!  Now go win another one...and another one and really make some noise....  Whatever, you've earned respect.  GO PANTHERS!!!!!

Wilbo
Wilbo

Where can you see replays? Everything I see on ESPN is commentary...


I don't care anything about Ga State, but glad you guys are having fun

nam51
nam51

Unbelievable; a great victory on the shoulders of a very human, dedicated coach whose son happens to be very, very good.


It's such a long, long way from the horrible Panther teams of the distant and recent past. Jack Waters, anyone remember him? I do. Nice guy, but his best player played a whole season and wasn't even registered.


No matter how you do it, rallying to score the final 13 of a game like this one is an incredible feat. 40 years after my graduation, I was thrilled for GSU and a little embarrassed that I haven't supported my alma mater.


Maybe it's time to change that...



Pounceman
Pounceman

@nam51 You've missed some great basketball the last four years with CRH!!! Join the PAC and join the fun!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

DrPhill
DrPhill

What a great story. Good luck in the next round.

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

I'll admit it...I turned off the TV late in the game figuring Ga St. was done.   My loss.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@twentysixpointtwo

I did the same when the Braves beat the Pirates with the infamous Sid Bream slide in the late hours. Argh! I've never forgiven myself.

dadofseven
dadofseven

NCAA football should have a better way to determine it's national champion. I know you've heard that before. As good as the regular season for football is, it can't compare to basketball's postseason. Football should be ashamed at how they determine, they being the writers and pollsters, their champion. Nothing like March Madness, NOTHING!

MoreorLess
MoreorLess

@dadofseven Agreed, they could never duplicate the basketball tourney, playing mutiple games in a matter of days. I think an 8 game playoff in football is about the best we could hope for. It's coming, just a metter of time.

FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

Poor Baylor did not stand a chance.

I heard Brian Gregory called their coach and gave him everything on how to play the last five minutes of the game.

DawgNole
DawgNole

MB: "We still see Bryce Drew’s shot every March — and it happened in 1998, meaning it’s 16 years old. . . ."

_________________

Hmmmmm.

Let's see, if Bryce's shot "happened in 1998," and this year really is 2015, then that would make it 17 years old.

Did I miss something?

seminoleking
seminoleking

one of the greatest college baskeball games ive ever seen, and THE REASON the ncaa tournament is the BEST thing going in sports..........

TOJacket
TOJacket

Thanks GSU Panthers for a great 32nd Anniversary moment today....................great game, can't help but pull for the Panthers in the future.......................Hey, go mutts!!

GSU-Panther-Russ
GSU-Panther-Russ

Great win for GSU. This game was truly unbelievable. Hope they get geared up for Xavier next.

Go Panthers !

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  1. […] Esteemed colleague Mark Bradley called it one of the most astonishing things he has ever witnessed. […]

  2. […] Still further: Georgia State’s astonishing victory — as stirring as I’ve ever seen. […]