Xavier ends Georgia State's NCAA tourney stay, advances to Sweet 16
The Panthers hung with Xavier all day and gave a valiant effort but just didn't have enough to get over the hump after falling behind by 10 midway through the second half.
Thursday's hero for Georgia State, R.J. Hunter, scored 20 points and added six assists but missed both of his three-point attempts in the final five minutes. Georgia State struggled to keep up on the boards, grabbing only 12 all game, and couldn't find a way to stop the Musketeers offensive attack.
The Panthers got good news coming in after it was announced that Ryan Harrow, who averages 18.7 points per game and missed the upset over Baylor due to a strained hamstring, would be available against Xavier.
Harrow came off the bench to score six points and grab two steals, but was limited and did not appear at all in the second half. On the season, he and Hunter combine to score more than 38 points per game.
Xavier took an early 17-6 lead and the Panthers spent the first half playing catch-up, eventually closing to a 32-28 deficit at halftime.
A dunk by Curtis Washington tied the game at 36 with 17 minutes left before the Musketeers went on a 9-2 run that set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Hunter and Georgia State made a run late, closing to within four points with five minutes to go, but Xavier's combination of Reynolds, Myles Davis and Dee Davis scored 20 points in the final 5:23 to seal the win.
Myles Davis made his fifth three of the game with 1:35 remaining, a crucial shot that put Xavier up 67-57. Dee Davis then made six straight free throws to close out the final 45 seconds.
Xavier will now face No. 2 seed Arizona on March 26 with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line. It will be the Musketeers fifth Sweet 16 appearance in the last 12 years.