March 15 – This date could qualify as one
of the most memorable in GSU history, with four games to remember.
March 15, 2001 – The men’s team won the
only NCAA Tournament game in school history with a thrilling 50-49 upset of No.
25 Wisconsin in Boise, Idaho. Down 16 points in the first half, GSU found a way
and it started with defense. GSU shut down Wisconsin in the second half. The
Panthers held Wisconsin to 19 second-half points on 28% shooting and a 20-12
rebound advantage over the bigger Badgers. One of the biggest plays was guard
Darryl Cooper’s four-point play with 48 seconds left to cut the lead to one.
Cooper followed that with a steal and an assist to Shernard Long who hit a
winning basket in the paint with 12 seconds left. Point guard Kevin Morris was
super with 18 points. “Bam” Campbell was tough on the boards with 11 rebounds. “Lefty’s
Loonies” won the Boise fans favor and helped increase the cheering section.
March 15, 1991 – This was the men’s first
NCAA invitation to the Big Dance. The game was played just up the street in the
Omni, now where Philips Arena sits. The upstart Panthers had entered the
conference tournament with a 13-14 record and pulled off three upsets to earn
the Cinderella bid. Not surprising, GSU was given a No. 16 seed against an
Arkansas team that was ranked No. 3 in the nation with a No. 1 seed. The
Panthers did gain an early nine-point lead on Arkansas and trailed only 33-31
with ring five minutes in the half before Arkansas made its move with its
pressing defense and run and gun style. GSU scored 76 points, but
unfortunately, the fast and deep Razorbacks poured in 117. Arkansas won its
next two by scoring 97 and 93 before falling in the Elite Eight. Senior Chris
Collier finished his career with 22 points and 13 rebounds in front of 13,586
in the Omni.
March 15, 2002 – The women’s team won
eight straight games, including the three of the conference tournament, to earn
its second straight NCAA Tournament bid with a 21-9 record. The Panthers were assigned
a No. 15 seed and sent to Knoxville to face the No. 6 team in the country. GSU head coach and former Vol All-SEC star Lea
Henry was pitted against her mentor, legendary 800-win Pat Summitt. GSU did
gain the early lead at 13-12 six minutes into the game, but the 6,191 Orange
faithful helped the Vols go on to a 38-30 halftime lead en route to a 98-68
win. Tennessee advanced to the national championship game.
March 15, 2003 – The women’s team won a
third straight conference championship title with this 80-63 win over UCF on
its home court in Orlando. This was the season’s 20th win and extended the team’s
winning streak to 10 games to take into the NCAA Tournament. Senior star Evita
Rogers scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to earn Tournament Most
Valuable Player honors, while junior forward Holly Coates added 16 points and
12 rebounds to give GSU a unique two players with double-double games.