ATLANTA - Jada Lewis scored the go-ahead layup with 16 seconds left and Victoria Middlebrooks sealed it with the steal and break-away layup in the game’s final seconds as Georgia State overcame an 18-point deficit to upset Troy 84-80 Saturday at GSU Sports Arena.
Trailing by 18 in the third quarter, Georgia State (9-8, 3-3 Sun Belt) scored 15 of the final 19 points of the quarter and trailed by just six entering the fourth. After a layup by Madison Ervin with a minute left cut the Troy lead to two, Janessa Murphy knocked the ball away, Ervin came up with it, and found her for the lay in to tie the game at 80. After a miss by Troy (14-3, 5-1 Sun Belt), GSU secured the rebound and Lewis came up with the game-winner on the other end.
"I told the team to keep fighting. Defend one possession at a time," head coach Gene Hill said. "When we come out and compete and show some toughness, we can compete with those top teams. But we have to do that for 40 minutes."
Harriet Winchester led the way for Troy with 15 points and Amber Rivers added 11.
Despite Troy jumping out to a 9-2 lead at the outset, Georgia State fought back and kept pace in the first quarter. The Panthers stepped things up defensively, scoring seven first quarter points off five Trojans turnovers including three steals. Despite the early deficit, the Panthers trailed by just two, 23-21, at the end of the first quarter.
Georgia State took its first lead of the game, 28-27, on a corner three by K.K. Williams early in the quarter. But Troy answered with a 12-0 run, while holding the Panthers without a field goal for seven minutes of play. Middlebrooks ended the drought on a putback with under a minute left as Troy took a 45-34 lead into halftime.
The Trojans led by as many 18 early in the third, but the Panthers would tighten the deficit with a 15-4 run in the final three minutes of the quarter. After a free-throw by Wright, Lewis scored on a layup and Ervin banked in a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 10. After another Wright free-throw, Johnson was fouled on a layup and hit the free-throw to complete the 3-point play. After a layup on the other end by Troy, Shaq Miller-McCray laid the ball in with seconds remaining, as the Panthers trailed by just six heading into the fourth quarter.
Troy got off to a fast start, scoring the first eight points of the quarter, but the Panthers would fight back once again, riding a 16-2 run to tie the game at 80 with 2:50 left. Winchester scored for Troy and then after a miss by Lewis, Sky’Lynn Holmes hit a jumper to put the Trojans back up by four. But Georgia State went on to score the final eight points of the game to pull off the upset.
Georgia State hits the road for its next game, Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. against Texas State.