Sophomore Shawn Long snatched two critical rebounds in the final 15 seconds of regulation leading to the tying basket from Bryant Mbamalu and Louisiana-Lafayette went on to upset Georgia State 82-81 in overtime Sunday to win the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
The Ragin Cajuns are returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005. They will be trying to win their first game in the tounament since 1992 when they knocked off Oklahoma.
Louisiana-Lafayette defeated the top two seeds to earn the automatic berth. Sunday's victory over top-seeded Georgia State was the first for the third-seeded Ragin Cajuns this season. Georgia State won the previous two meetings.
Long was one of four Ragin Cajuns to score in double figures. He finished with 11 points but pulled down 14 rebounds leading his team to a 16-rebound advantage over the Panthers. Xavian Rimmer scored 27 points with seven of his eight made field goals coming behind the 3-point line.
Rimmer missed a free throw with 19 seconds left in overtime that would have given Louisiana-Lafayette a two-point lead, but Georgia State point guard Ryan Harrow, a transfer from Kentucky, missed his game-winning runner. Harrow's career day of 37 points and seven rebounds was not enough to propel Georgia State into the tournament.
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