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Badgers edged by Georgia State in first round of NCAA tournament

2013 NCAA Tournament
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Georgia State

11 Georgia State 50, 6 Wisconsin 49
2001 NCAA Tournament - First Round (West Region)
BSU Pavilion • Boise, Idaho • Attendance: 10,216

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1st 2nd Final
 Georgia State 19 31 50
30 19 49
 Statistical Leaders
 • Mark Vershaw: 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 6-16 FG 
 • Andy Kowske: 11 Pts, 3-3 FG, 5-6 FT
 • Kirk Penney: 5 Pts, 6 Reb
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .377 .395
 3-Point FG Percentage .217 .250
 FT Percentage .625 .600
 Offensive Rebounds 8 6
 Defensive Rebounds 23 26
 Total Rebounds 33 32
 Turnovers 12 12
 Blocks 1 0
 Steals 7 6
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March 15, 2001

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Lefty Driesell had made 12 previous trips to the NCAA tournament, coached some of the biggest names in the biggest games in college basketball.

But even the ol' left-hander admitted this win was extra special.

Darryl Cooper hit a four-point play and made a steal to set up the game-winning basket in the final minute as Georgia State rallied from a 16-point deficit for an improbable 50-49 win over Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA West Regional on Thursday.

 Fast Facts
• GSU scored game-winning basket with 12 sec. left
• UW let 13-point, 2nd half lead slip away
• Badgers led 30-19 at the half

"I told my team this might be the greatest win I've ever had," Driesell said. "We came back in the second half and showed what kind of club we have."

The win wasn't sealed until Mark Vershaw missed two free throws with 3.2 seconds to play for sixth-seeded Wisconsin (18-11), setting up an intriguing second-round possibility.

The 11th-seeded Panthers (29-4) advanced to play the winner of 14th-seeded George Mason and third-seeded Maryland, the school that fired Driesell 15 years ago.

"I don't care who we play. We're going to win," Driesell said jokingly.

Georgia State's first tournament win seemed like the most unlikely of possibilities early, as the Badgers used smothering defense and the same slowdown pace that carried them to the Final Four last season.

Wisconsin led 28-12 late in the first half. Two free throws by Andy Kowske gave the Badgers a 49-44 lead with 59.7 seconds left and they appeared in control.

But Cooper hit a high-arching 3-pointer and was fouled by Roy Boone to get the Panthers back into it. Cooper's free throw made it a one-point game with 48.2 seconds to play.

"Roy is absolutely crushed," Wisconsin interim coach Brad Soderberg said.

On the Badgers' next possession, Cooper stepped in front of Boone to steal Travon Davis' pass and fed Shernard Long, who hit a bank shot with 12.3 seconds to play, giving Georgia State its first lead since the opening minutes.

Vershaw, a 73 percent foul shooter, then missed two free throws for the Badgers and Long got the rebound.

"I wish I could have made a few more shots," Vershaw said. "Not only did it end the game, it ended my career."

Long missed the front end of a one-on-one, but Kirk Penney's desperation halfcourt shot missed everything and the Panthers celebrated the biggest win in school history.

Georgia State had only three winning seasons in its first 35 years before Driesell came to the commuter school in Atlanta. He brought in transfers like Long (Georgetown), Cooper (LSU) and Kevin Morris (Georgia Tech) to build a winning program.

"It was a great win for Georgia State," Cooper said. "Nationally, I don't think we got the kind of respect we deserve."

Morris led Georgia State with 18 points, Long scored all 13 of his points in the second half, and Cooper finished with 11.

Vershaw led Wisconsin with 19 points and Kowske added 11.

The Panthers entered the game averaging 81 points per game and Wisconsin had allowed only 56.8, second best in the country. Both coaches thought the pace of the game would decide the winner and it looked that way for the first half.

Even the boisterous cheers from Lefty's Loonies, some of whom drove 37 hours from Atlanta, couldn't spark Georgia State early. The Panthers had their lowest-scoring half of the season with 19 points and trailed by 11.

Only a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer by Morris gave the Panthers hope. Morris had 12 points in the half, while his teammates shot 2-for-15, with leading scorers Long and Thomas Terrell each going 0-for-5.

"It wasn't going to happen twice," Long said of the scoreless first half. "If this is going to be my last game, we're playing to the end."

Long scored three baskets early in the second half during a 12-3 run that brought the Panthers within 33-28. He tied the score at 42 with a three-point play with 7:11 left.

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