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Ga. State outlasts HPU men in OT

Nov. 22—HIGH POINT — Rallying to force overtime, the High Point University men's basketball team couldn't finish the job.

Georgia State (4-1) took advantage of HPU's missed shots and turnovers in the extra period as it pulled away for a 74-66 victory Sunday to win the local bracket championship in the Legends Classic at the Qubein Center.

"I was pleased with the overall toughness and determination to win a game that was tough," Rob Lanier, who is in his third season as Georgia State's head coach. "We had a double-digit lead in the second half and the crowd got involved and our backs were against the wall."

In the five-minute overtime, the visiting Panthers held HPU (2-3) to just one field goal in the first 4:40 and 3 of 9 shooting for the period. The home Panthers committed three turnovers to finish with 22 against 15 assists for the game.

"I was impressed with Georgia State," HPU head coach Tubby Smith said. "They had a good game plan and executed well. They did a better job. At the end we were outcoached. They did sort of what we did (Saturday) when we beat Howard. They did a better job on the boards and obviously our issue was ... taking care of the basketball."

Emmanuel Izunabor hit one of two free throws, giving HPU its only lead in the overtime at 60-59 on its first possession.

Georgia State, which also had more turnovers than assists for the game, regained the lead on a fast-break layup a few seconds later and never gave it up. Izunabor appeared to put HPU back in front when he put in a follow shot with 3:30 but was called for traveling as he maneuvered for his shot.

Justin Roberts of GSU buried a 3 with 2:35 left as part of his team-leading 25 points but Bryant Randleman sank a jumper with just over two minutes remaining and cut the margin to 64-62.

On the visiting Panthers' next possession, Evan Johnson, who had made just 1 of 9 shots, got the ball behind a screen beyond 3-point arc. He took a one-side dribble, dribbled back behind the screen, launched a jumper and made it, pushing the lead to 67-62. HPU never recovered.

Randleman dribbled the ball off his leg while trying to drive to the basket on HPU's next possession and the home Panthers then started fouling. Georgia State sealed the victory by hitting 7 of 8 free throws on its next four possessions while HPU's possessions ended in a turnover, a blocked shot and a missed 3 — a combination that put Georgia State up 74-62.

The visiting Panthers dominated the extra period without having to go to their best option on offense, Kane Williams, who scored 21 points following 23 in a 77-59 win over William & Mary on Saturday and was named the tournament MVP. Williams, who also collected 11 rebounds, hit just 5 of 15 shots on Sunday but was fouled often driving to the basket and made 11 of 14 free throws.

GSU made 24 of 33 from the line compared to HPU's 10 of 18.

John-Michael Wright, who hit just 5 of 18 shots, and Jaden House led HPU with 17 points each. Zach Austin added 11 that included 3 from behind the arc but was just 1 of 11 after hitting two 3s early.

Austin's second bucket ended an early HPU burst that resulted in its biggest lead at 12-4.

GSU led 36-30 at the half and enjoyed its largest margin at 46-36 with 14:30 left in regulation. HPU then put together a 9-2 run that included two free throws and a three-point play from Wright, two Austin free throws and a put back from House that made it 47-45.

HPU fell behind by five, rallied to take its only lead of the second half at 56-55 on Wright's 3 with 5:03 left and then tied the score at 57 and at 59.

HPU had a chance to take the lead down the stretch, but Wright missed a jumper and the home Panthers lost the rebound out of bounds with 24 seconds left.

GSU then held for the final shot in regulation. Roberts took it, driving into the lane and launching a high shot over Izunabor that bounced off the rim just before the buzzer sounded.

"Our guys fought hard," Smith said. "We got in foul trouble. We fought through adversity and got it to overtime, even when things looked dire. That was impressive that we were able to do that. . . . We had good all-around energy plays and effort plays to get us in the game."

Wright and House were named to the all-tournament team.

Howard won the consolation game, closing on a 12-2 run to defeat William & Mary 82-76.

Steve Settle led Howard (4-2) with 19 points. Elijah Hawkins added 12 as seven Bison scored in double digits.

Quinn Blair scored 22 in 20 minutes off the bench to lead the Tribe. Connor Kochera added 14.

The Tribe, who led by one entering a second half that featured six lead changes, held a 74-70 cushion before the Bison dominated the last five minutes. Howard went ahead for good at 76-74 on Randy Brumant's layup with 2:43 left and made 6 of 6 free throws to seal the outcome.

@HPEgreer — gsmith@hpenews.com — 336-888-3519