Even in defeat, Georgia State was a winner

The Hunters, father and son. (AP photo/Chris O’Meara)

The Hunters, father and son. (AP photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Hunters, father and son. (AP photo/Chris O’Meara)

Jacksonville, Fla. — Georgia State lost to Xavier 75-67 but won the week. The Panthers proved they belonged in this Big Dance, and if the Musketeers had been even slightly imprecise Saturday, they might have gone the way of Baylor. That Georgia State lost by eight to an opponent that made 67.6 percent of its shots tells us that this was far more than your garden-variety 14th seed.

When it was done, both Hunters wept. Father and son, together on the dais before the assembled media, both covering their faces, the son using a towel, the dad just his hands — and somehow it wasn’t a sad moment. It was one of pride and joy and, yes, love.

“I love this kid, man” coach Ron Hunter had said, putting his hand on his son’s shoulder. “I love you.”

Said R.J. Hunter, who scored 20 points in what might have been his final collegiate game: “I told the guys in the locker room, ‘If you’re crying, they should be tears of joy. We changed the culture of Georgia State.”

True. Four days ago, did anyone in Tucson or Tucumcari or Tehachapi or Tonopah — here we bow to Lowell George and Little Feat — know the slightest thing about Georgia State University? But now the masses have memories of Ron Hunter and his rolling chair and R.J. and his hero shot and the little team from the Sun Belt that played big against opponents from the Big 12 and Big East.

“It’s bittersweet right now,” R.J. said, but it was clearly more sweet than bitter. What Georgia State did in three days in North Florida will resonate for decades.

Later, the younger Hunter was asked, if he lives to be 100, how much of this week he’ll remember. “Every minute,” he said, and he smiled a winner’s smile.

The Georgia State-Xavier game column can be found here.

Reader Comments 1

30 comments
PantherWin
PantherWin

Best program in the state with a budget that is minuscule in comparison to GT and UGA. The "big boys" should be embarrassed. 

jezel
jezel

Dang Ga. State...you guys have stolen the hearts of Atlanta. Very proud of what you accomplished.
 Love the way you play.

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

Thing is, this isn't the end. The team is loaded next season and might actually be better than this season.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@JamesBullows 

Harrow and Hunter will be gone - they are the 2 best players on the team.

5150POAD
5150POAD

Good for GaState

a combined 81 posts on all the GaState blogs since the Tourney started tells me that they still are not relevant. 

If the AJC reported on GaSou football they would get more hits than stories on GaState. 

Once Kennesaw State starts playing football I think their page will get more hits than GaState articles will. 

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

@9014EAEO Whats georgia southern? I've never heard of them. I've been hearing about Georgia State all week more than anyone else, i thought there was only Georgia State, UGA and Georgia Tech in Georgia.

5150POAD
5150POAD

@JamesBullows Well then you need to pull your HEAD out and you would know KSU and GaSOU. You know GaState had to beat GaSou 2 times in a week to even get into the NCAA.

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

@9014EAEO @JamesBullows Oh, that's who we beat. Twice. In about a week? No wonder i don't remember them. I've been watching us beat you know, basketball teams people care about.

dontstereotypemeyo
dontstereotypemeyo

@9014EAEO @JamesBullows



So this would make Georgia Southern an even bigger joke than GSU, right? And certainly a bigger joke than KSU. Looks like your real angle is animus against GSU, not support for KSU or Southern. So go ahead and explain it: what is your agenda against GSU?

dontstereotypemeyo
dontstereotypemeyo

@Andy123 @dontstereotypemeyo @9014EAEO @JamesBullows


Georgia State is rated higher than Georgia Southern on every academic metric. Georgia State is one of Georgia's three comprehensive research universities. The other two are UGA and Georgia Tech. Sorry but there are more ways to evaluate unversiities than your segregationism.

mdet
mdet

how do you view your brackets in your game Mark?


TOJacket
TOJacket

@mdet I can't find the link on here anywhere??????

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket @mdet Thanks DN............I figured they would leave the little logo on the page, but they took it down when the Tourny started?

chalkdawg4
chalkdawg4

GSU needs to pony up a nice contract for Hunter.   I suspect he might stay here.  Picking up some low hanging fruit and taking former big time recruits who have soured on their old teams.  Never been to a game there but I believe the gym is kind of crappy.  Of, course so is UGAs.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Why is it nowadays when you watch the news............about half of the entire broadcast some reporter is riding all over the Interstates showing us that it is raining.......in a tricked out Hummer..........I'm gonna sic them tree-huger's on them.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Tree "huger's"?

Heh-heh.

You're almost always good for a laugh, TO.

unknown911
unknown911

Well done GSU, proud of you for the first time.  I never paid attention to GSU before now but they have arrived.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Not just a great Basketball story but a story of Love,  and devotion of a Father for his son..............and his basketball team.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Good year for UGA and Ga St. 

keep improving.

atlfanman
atlfanman

Georgia State is now a place where the state's best can come to play.

HenryTang
HenryTang

Thanks Mark for all the great pieces! I enjoyed reading them all!

58Supersports
58Supersports

Great season and a lot to be proud of... Thanks mark for great reporting.

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