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Atkins’ Buzzer Beater Ends Cajuns’ Win Streak

Manny Atkins three point basket from the left corner with 0.8 seconds left thwarted a furious Louisiana comeback as Georgia State remained unbeaten at home by beating the Ragin’ Cajuns 80-77 before 2.890 at the Georgia State Sports Arena.

The Cajuns (18-10, 9-6 Sun Belt) trailed by nine points with 1:45 to go, but fought back as Steven Wronkoski drilled a three pointer with 1:39 to go.  Kevin Brown followed with a steal that led to an Elfrid Payton basket with :53 left to make it 77-73.  After Georgia State’s R. J. Hunter missed a layup, Payton came down, got a layup of his own and was fouled.  He made the ensuing free throw to get the Cajuns within one point, 77-76.  Four seconds later, Bryant Mbamalu got a steal and got the ball to Payton, who was fouled and made one of two free throws to tie the game with just 30 seconds left.  Georgia State played for the last shot and Ryan Harrow found Atkins in the corner and the senior buried the shot to win it for the Panthers (20-7, 13-1).

Georgia State trailed by as many as twelve points in the first half, but cut the lead to eight points, 38-30 at the intermission.  After a Hunter layup, Mbamalu hit a three pointer to put the Cajuns up 41-32.  But the Panthers then went on a 21-0 run to take a 53-41 lead with 13:19 left.  Hunter hit three from the perimeter for nine points and Markus Crider scored six to lead the charge.

Louisiana hit a trio of three pointers to build an early 9-0 lead and led 17-5 at the 15:41 mark.  Georgia State scored the next six points to cut the lead to six and the lead stayed between six and ten points the remainder of the half.

Harrow led the Panthers’ balanced attack with 18 points.  Devonta White added 17 while Hunter, who scored 33 in the first meeting between the two teams, had 14 points, eleven in the second half.  Atkins had twelve, including the game winner, while Crider had all of his 12 points in the second half.

Shawn Long , despite foul trouble, led all scorers with 22 points.  Mbamalu had 19, Payton 13 and Xavian Rimmer chipped in ten points for the Cajuns.  The Cajuns hit 10-25 three point shots in the game, but made just 19-29 free throws (65.5%).

The Cajuns will have the week off before entertaining South Alabama a week from Sunday at 3pm.  It will mark the final home game for seniors Mbamalu, Elridge Moore and Braylon Lazare.

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