ATLANTA - Rashaad Richardson sank a half-court heave at the buzzer to give Georgia State a 59-57 victory over Tennessee State Tuesday night on day two of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Atlanta Subregional, played at the GSU Sports Arena.
Tennessee State's DeShawn Dockery appeared to win the game for the Tigers (1-4), coached by former GSU player Travis Williams, with a driving layup with two seconds left that put TSU ahead, 57-56. After a timeout, Manny Atkins inbounded the ball to Richardson, who caught the ball right at half court, turned and heaved the 45-foot shot into the basket.
The lead actually changed hands four times in the final 25 seconds and three times in last seven seconds. With the Panthers holding a 54-52 lead, TSU's Jordan Cyphers drained a three-pointer with 25 seconds left to put Tennessee State up, 55-54. Georgia State (2-2) then regained the lead on a pair of free throws by Cameron Solomon with seven seconds left to set up the final drama.
"Wow is about all I can say," was how head coach Ron Hunter opened his postgame press conference. "I am really proud of the way our guys fought tonight and never gave up. We played strong on defense and that kept us in the game.
"It felt like forever for Rashaad's shot to go in. I remember watching it go up and thinking it had a chance, but I don't really remember anything after that as the crowd went crazy. I am extremely proud of him. In my 25 years of coaching, I don't know if I have ever coached a better person that Rashaad. I am very happy for him tonight."
Devonta White scored a game-high 19 points for Georgia State, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor, including three three-pointers.
The Panthers likely could have won the game in less-dramatic fashion with better free throw shooting, as GSU went just 11-for-19 from the line and missed three crucial foul shots in the final two minutes that could have helped seal the victory.
The lead changed hands 16 times in the second half, with neither team leading by more than seven points.
Georgia State trailed 44-43 with seven minutes to play, when Solomon and James Vincent completed back-to-back three-point plays as GSU moved ahead, 49-44 with 5:56 left. A layup by Atkins pushed the Panthers' advantage to 51-44 at 4:53.
But Tennessee State reeled off eight straight points on a dunk by Robert Covington and then three-pointers by Dockery and Patrick Miller to regain the lead at 52-51 with 2:24 left.
White made one of two free throws to tie the game at 52-all, and then Vincent also made one of two for a 53-52 advantage with 1:29 on the clock. White was back at the free throw line with 37 seconds left and a change to give the Panthers a three-point lead, but he again made just one of two free throws, and GSU led 54-52.
Cameron Solomon added 10 points off the bench, making 4-of-5 free throws for GSU.
Covington led Tennessee State with 13 points, while Miller and Jordan added 12 each.
In Tuesday's first game, Monmouth defeated South Alabama, 73-71.
The three-day event concludes Wednesday as Monmouth and Tennessee State play at 12 noon, followed by Georgia State versus South Alabama at 3 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 1-866-GA-STATE or visiting GeorgiaStateSports.com