Final OT

LA-Lafayette 82

(23-11, 11-7 Sun Belt)

Georgia State 81

(25-8, 17-1 Sun Belt)

    Coverage: ESPN2/WatchESPN

    1:00 PM ET, March 16, 2014

    Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana

    1 2 OT T
    ULL 35 37 1082
    GAST 34 38 981

    Top Performers

    UL Lafayette: X. Rimmer 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast

    Georgia St: R. Harrow 37 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Louisiana-Lafayette rallies to drop Georgia St. in OT for Sun Belt title

    Associated Press

    NEW ORLEANS -- There's no dodging this now. Louisiana-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin is getting a tattoo.

    Before the season, he promised his Ragin' Cajuns he would get some ink if they made the NCAA tournament. And on Sunday, Xavian Rimmer scored a career-high 27 points, and Louisiana-Lafayette rallied from a 9-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation to force overtime and beat Georgia State 82-81 in the Sun Belt Conference championship game.

    "We didn't forget it," UL-Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton said. "He's going to get it. Real soon."

    The third-seeded Ragin' Cajuns (23-11) earned an automatic bid to their first NCAA tournament since 2005.

    They were due to find out the date and time of their first-round game during the NCAA selection show later Sunday afternoon. The date for Marlin's trip to the tattoo parlor has not been determined.

    "I thought they'd forgotten about it," he said. "They were talking about it this morning. Elfrid is the one that tweeted that out."

    Ryan Harrow scored a career-high 37 points for Georgia State but missed an off-balance, driving bank shot in the final seconds. The top-seeded Panthers (25-7) had won 22 of their last 23 games, but were relegated to the NIT with the heartbreaking loss.

    "Life isn't necessarily always fair, but you just deal with some of the consequences," coach Ron Hunter said. "This one game, as I just told them, will not be a reflection of what we've accomplished this year."

    After tying the score on a putback with 1.4 seconds left in regulation, Lafayette, which grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, took the lead for good, 80-77, with a 6-0 run in overtime that Payton capped off with a layup off a turnover.

    Rimmer hit seven 3-pointers to keep the Cajuns within range until its final comeback.

    The surge started when Payton hit a 3-pointer after a missed Georgia State free throw to cut the deficit to 70-64 with 2:56 left. Bryant Mbamalu then drove for a layup to make the score 70-66.

    After Georgia State scored on Harrow's putback -- its first second-chance points of the game -- Lafayette's Shawn Long had a dunk, Payton converted a layup off a steal and Mbamalu converted his offensive rebound.

    Georgia State went up 77-74 in overtime on R.J. Hunter's 3-pointer with 3:00 left but did not get another basket until Harrow's driving layup with 21.4 seconds left. When Rimmer, an 84-percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a one-and-one 3 seconds later, Georgia State had one final chance to win a game it controlled for most of the second half.

    When Harrow's wild attempt failed, he crouched on the floor for a few minutes. Hunter, the Sun Belt Conference player of the year, joined him as the Panthers agonized over one that got away.

    Payton had 19 points and six assists for Lafayette. Long added 14 rebounds. Hunter scored 17 for Georgia State but was only 4 of 12 from the field.

    "We're a team to watch out for," Payton said. "We can score in so many ways, and now that our defense has picked up these last 11 or 12 games, we can play with anybody."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 81
    FG Made-Attempted 32-75 (.427) 28-58 (.483)
    3P Made-Attempted 11-26 (.423) 5-19 (.263)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-14 (.500) 20-21 (.952)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 15 (0/0)

    2013-14 Season

    Jan 23, 2014 GAST 77, @ULL 70Recap
    Feb 22, 2014 @GAST 80, ULL 77Recap
    » Mar 16, 2014 ULL 82, @GAST 81Recap