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Ex-Walton Star Shines But GSU Misses Big Dance

Ryan Harrow was spectacular in Sunday's Sun Belt Conference Tournament title game, but it wasn't enough as the Panthers fell to Louisiana-Lafayette in overtime.

Ryan Harrow drives for two points on Sunday. Courtesy Sun Belt Conference Facebook page/Photo by Joe Imel
Ryan Harrow drives for two points on Sunday. Courtesy Sun Belt Conference Facebook page/Photo by Joe Imel
Despite a career-high 37 points from former Walton High School basketball standout Ryan Harrow, the Georgia State Panthers missed making their first appearance in the NCAA basketball tournament since 2001 with an agonizing 82-81 overtime loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in Sunday’s Sun Belt Conference championship game.

Harrow put on a spectacular second half performance in New Orleans in scoring at will in helping Georgia State build a nine-point lead with three minutes remaining in regulation.

But the Panthers got conservative down the stretch and the Ragin' Cajuns rallied to force the extra session with a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining. In overtime, Harrow, who hit 13 of 22 shots from the floor and pulled down seven rebounds, had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but his off-balance, driving bank shot was off the mark.

Harrow and teammate R.J. Hunter were named to the all-tournament team.

The Panthers, 25-7, had won 22 of their previous 23 games, including both meetings with Louisiana-Lafayette, before Sunday’s loss.

The season’s not done, though, as the program picked up its fifth postseason berth in school history Sunday night as the Sun Belt Conference regular-season champion Panthers were selected to play in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Panthers open the postseason as a No. 6 seed and will face Clemson, a No. 3 seed, on the road on Tuesday, March 18. GSU and the Tigers will play at 9 p.m. ET in a game seen nationally on ESPNU.

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