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College

    A teen driver told police he fell asleep at the wheel before rear-ending Auburn broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula, in a crash that killed the couple.  AL.com reported that the 16-year-old told police he doesn’t remember what happened just before the May 25 accident, scarcely a mile from Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. The crash occurred just after 6 p.m. on a Saturday. The police report says it’s unknown how fast the teen was driving before he struck the Brambletts’ vehicle from behind, pushing it into the intersection and through opposing lanes of traffic.  Bramblett, 52, died from a head injury. His wife, Paula, 53, who worked in Auburn’s Information Technology Department, died from internal injuries. The teen driver sustained serious injuries. Auburn police ruled out the use of a phone and alcohol as contributing factors. Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes says the investigation is ongoing.  Bramblett, the “Voice of the Auburn Tigers,”  began announcing baseball games for Auburn in 1993 and became the Tigers’ play-by-play announcer for football and basketball in 2003. Bramblett was a three-time Alabama Sportscaster of the Year. Sports Illustrated named Bramblett the national broadcaster of the year in 2013 after his calls during wins over Alabama — “Kick Six” — and Georgia — “Miracle in Jordan-Hare.” The Brambletts had been together since high school. They are survived by two children, daughter Shelby, an Auburn student, and son Joshua. Nearly 2,000 mourners and Auburn fans attended a public memorial for the Brambletts last month.
  • History often repeats itself, and it did again Sunday night for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs dedicated their entire season to avenging what happened here this time last year. That was losing to Duke to get bounced from their own regional despite coming in with a national seed. Well, it happened again, with Florida State filling the role as spoiler and Georgia — a No. 4 seed — going out as an even bigger favorite. The Seminoles, who barely got into the NCAA field with a 36-win season and entered as a 3 seed, defeated the Bulldogs for the second time in as many days to claim the NCAA Athens Regional championship. And it wasn't close, 10-1 being the final score. 'It's the same feeling being back here,' junior pitcher Zac Kristofak said from the postgame podium. 'If there's one takeaway it's that you never know what can happen. We felt really good about being here, but you just never know in baseball. If you don't play your best in this tournament you're not going to win. Unfortunately, we had to find that out the hard way again.' Shut out eight times during the regular season, the Seminoles won 10-1 Sunday and scored 35 runs during the regional, including 21 in two games against the Bulldogs. The majority of damage came from the bottom of the lineup. Number seven hitter Nander De Sedas was 5-for-9 in his two games against Georgia and 6 for 15 in the regional. Number nine hitter Tim Becker — a club team player at FSU last year — hit three home runs. The theory is that the FSU might've been inspired for their retiring coach. In fact, some college baseball observers thought the Seminoles received a bid only because it was the swan song for their 40-year skipper Mike Martin. Maybe so, but with these three wins, Martin now stands just one victory away from winning for 40 games for the 40th consecutive year. “Certainly with Coach Martin being in his last season, when I saw their name pop up, I knew it was going to be challenge,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “It was a tough draw, let alone a 3 seed. That was not a 3 seed. That was one of the top teams in the country.” FSU leaves Athens with a 39-21 record. It will likely be traveling again to play the winner of the Baton Rouge Regional. “To say I’m happy is an understatement,” said the 75-year-old Hall of Famer. “This is what we get out of coaching, seeing a team come together.” Georgia’s season ends at 46-21 after winning a school-record 21 conference games to finish second in the SEC. It was a bit of a long shot for the Bulldogs to pull this out Sunday after falling to FSU, 12-3, Saturday to fall into the loser’s bracket. The Bulldogs had to play two full nine-inning games Sunday just to extend the tournament another day. They got the day off to as good a start as possible with a, 13-0, win over Florida Atlantic that featured a complete-game effort from junior right-hander Tim Elliott. Georgia went with hard-throwing freshman Cole Wilcox to start the nightcap. But Wilcox struggled with his control and FSU’s hot bats didn’t have a problem timing up with Wilcox’s fastball, recorded at 100-miles-an-hour this season. Reese Albert, the Seminoles’ second batter of the day, hit a two-run home run on the fourth pitch of the game. Wilcox seemed to pitch a little too careful the rest of his stint. He was lifted trailing 5-0 in the fourth inning having walked five and striking out only one. Zac Kristofak put out that fire with a strikeout, but he control the next one when it started up in the six inning. FSU would strike for four more in that frame to get ahead 9-0. Georgia’s Tucker Maxwell answered with a leadoff homer in the bottom half of the inning, but the Bulldogs would leave their only other runner stranded, and the rout continued. Georgia just gave the visitors too many chances. A record-setting fielding team coming in (.981), the Bulldogs had three errors Sunday against Seminoles. They never had more than two errors in any game all season. “Our guys play in big games in our conference every weekend,” Stricklin said. “It was just one of those games, one of those games. We made all the plays earlier today. For whatever reason we just didn’t play great today.” After improving its record by 14 games last year to earn a No. 8 national seed, Georgia improved by another six games this season and earned a No. 4 seed. And this was a young team. The Bulldogs will lose only second baseman L.J. Talley to graduation among position players and most of the junior group should return. The exceptions there are star third baseman Aaron Schunk and starting pitcher Tony Locey. Elliott and a few other juniors will have tougher decisions to make. “I want to tell everybody how much I enjoyed coaching this particular team,” Stricklin said. “It’s an unbelievable group, a high-character group, kids who worked so hard and overcame a lot. We had a ton of injuries this year, but guys just kept stepping up one after another. Just so enjoyable to be around every day and a fun team to watch. “I just hate that it ended that way.”
  • Georgia needed to get a lot out of its starting pitcher on Sunday, and Tim Elliott delivered. The junior right-hander carried a no-hitter in the fourth inning and went the distance to record the Bulldogs’ first nine-inning, complete-game victory of the season. Georgia pitchers had thrown two other complete games this season, but they were 8- and 7-inning affairs. “Definitely number one for me,” Elliott said of where the performance ranked in his career. “Especially the position we’re in right now, that definitely puts it on the top of my list. I’m really happy right now.” It was all the top-seeded Bulldogs (46-16) could have hoped for. With the, 13-0, win, Georgia stays alive to face No. 3 seed Florida State Sunday night. The Seminoles (38-21) beat the Bulldogs, 12-3, Saturday. (Update: Florida State advanced to NCAA super regional) Sunday’s performance continued Elliott’s strong late-season work for the Bulldogs. Georgia has won the last four games that he started. Normally the team’s mid-week starter, Elliott was pushed into a weekend role with the late-season back injury to C.J. Smith He improves to 7-3 on the season. “He’s just really reliable, and we know what we’re going to get,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “It’s been fun to watch him grow up. He pitched a little as a freshman, as a sophomore he pitched a little more and gave us some mid-week help but just wasn’t there. But he just kept getting better and better and better. Here lately he’s been one of our best guys. “He was getting anybody out today. He was outstanding.” For a while, Elliott was perfect. Even when he gave up his first hit in the fourth inning, the Bulldogs quickly wiped it away with a 4-6-3 double play. He had unleashed only 47 pitches through five innings and finished having thrown only 95 pitches. More importantly, nobody else on the team threw one. “Guys were really excited,” Stricklin said. “Once he got through the sixth inning, you look up at the pitch count and everybody knew we were going C-G out here. He never got in trouble. He was locked in and the guys were energized by that.” The Bulldogs will start freshman Cole Wilcox in the nightcap and have their full bullpen at their disposal, minus Elliott and Emerson Hancock, Saturday night’s starter. Not that they needed it, but the Bulldogs also produced a lot of offense, Aaron Schunk especially. The star third baseman hit two more homers Sunday — including a grand slam in the eighth inning — and finished with six RBI. That pushed his team-leading totals to 15 home runs and 58 RBI. Georgia hit four home runs in the game, including Cam Shepherd, John Cable and Connor Tate.
  • UGA President Jere Morehead revealed Friday that Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and his wife, Mary Beth, have given a “significant donation” to the university’s Terry College of Business, which resulted in a classroom being named in their honor when the final phase of that school’s construction project is completed this summer. “A very ‘smart’ classroom,” Morehead quipped. Kirby and Mary Beth Smart graduated with finance degrees from the Terry College. Morehead could not say how much money they donated.  “Enough to get a classroom named after them,” said Morehead, who approved Smart’s $7 million annual salary last year. The Smarts did not respond to messages seeking comment. A dedication of the three-phase project that produced three massive new buildings on the corner of Lumpkin and Baxter Streets will be dedicated this fall.  At the Georgia Athletic Association’s end-of-year retreat Friday, the board approved a record budget of $153.89 million for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1. That is an increase of more than $10 million from last year’s budget ($143.32 M). Together with last year’s budget increase of $16 million, Georgia’s budget has grown by $26 million in the last two years. The athletics board underscored Friday that Kirby Smart’s contributions to football are resulting in a lot of contributions to the athletic department. His Bulldogs are 32-10 in three seasons, having won an SEC Championship and played for a national title. Matt Borman, the GAA’s director of development, revealed that Smart is intimately involved in the Bulldogs’ fundraising efforts. He initiated the change of format of the Georgia Bulldog Club’s annual coaches’ caravan to put the emphasis on donor dinners. Borman said Smart also regularly has lunches with individual donors in his office and at times will make fund-raising visits with major givers when his schedule will allow. “Kirby is unbelievable with his time,” Borman said. “Obviously he is a great salesman for his program. We’ve been able to take advantage of the time he’s giving us. Those lunches in his office has led to some major gifts being closed.” Said Athletic Director Greg McGarity: “We can see why Kirby is such a great recruiter because he connects so well with our fan base. He knows so many people and he’s able to talk about the University of Georgia in a certain way because he’s been there and experienced it. He and Mary Beth value their degrees from Terry and he’s passionate about it.” Smart’s program also benefits, of course. Details remain vague, but the Bulldogs are in the midst of raising money for a new football building, the price tag for which might exceed $80 million. Together with the Payne Indoor Athletic Center, the West End renovation and locker room expansion at Sanford Stadium and other projects, that’s more than $175 million in facility improvements for the football team since Smart came on board four years ago.
  • The Georgia athletic association’s board of directors unanimously endorsed naming the field at Sanford Stadium in honor of former longtime coach Vince Dooley. Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium is expected to be crowned Sept. 7, when the Bulldogs face Murray State in the home opener. Dooley, 86, was informed of the plan in person Thursday morning by university president Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity. “It’s a great tribute to all of the players that I’ve had the privilege of coaching through the years, and I’m very happy for my family as well,” Dooley said of the honor. » Mark Bradley: A victory for Vince Dooley» More: Social media buzzing about Dooley Field “Coach Dooley’s many contributions to this university can be seen across campus,” Morehead said in a statement, “from Georgia athletics, where he achieved unrivaled success, to the learning environment, where today many academic programs and initiatives bear his name, such as the Dooley Library Endowment Fund to the Dooley Professorship in Horticulture. The university community will continue to benefit from his service and dedication for generations to come.” Dooley was the Bulldogs’ head football coach from 1963 to 1989, winning the national championship in 1980. He won six Southeastern Conference Championships. While athletics director from 1979 to 2004, Georgia teams won 23 national championships and 78 SEC titles. The move was praised by two noted university supporters. Herschel Walker, who won the Heisman Trophy, under Dooley’s tutelage said the honor was long overdue. “I applaud the University of Georgia for honoring coach’s decades of service and success,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. “I look forward to watching the Dawgs compete on Dooley Field in the near future.”
  • Perhaps owing to the weather or the Easter holiday, the 2019 edition of G-Day wasn’t as well attended as coach Kirby Smart’s previous three spring-practice finales, but it was a pretty entertaining game as these sorts of affairs go, with the Red team coming from behind to defeat the Black team 22-17. Here are five observations from Saturday’s game, as they relate to the Bulldogs’ 15 spring practices. Plays of noteGeorgia coach Kirby Smart has talked throughout the spring about the defense creating havoc, and he had to be happy with Eric Stokes, who intercepted a Jake Fromm pass in the first quarter and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. … D’Andre Swift rushed three times for 39 yards and had a nice 27-yard run in the second quarter that set up a 13-yard scoring pass from Fromm to Brian Herrien. … Backup quarterback Stetson Bennett threw a 52-yard completion to wide receiver Matt Landers, who atoned for a drop earlier in the second quarter. … Latavius Brini created more havoc with a third-quarter interception. … With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, early-enrollee quarterback D’Wan Mathis scored a touchdown, but it came the receiving end of a 39-yard pass from Landers, who took the handoff on a reverse. … With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, Bennett (who played for both the Red and Black squads) tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Holloman. Great first impressions, Part 1Mathis, who enrolled at Georgia in January, made a favorable first impression on Bulldogs fans, as he completed 15 of 28 passes for 113 yards and one interception. The 4-star prospect also rushed nine times and had a long run of 20 yards, but five sacks left him with minus-2 yards rushing. “He did a great job, and it was great for his confidence,” Swift said. “It was a good springboard for him going into fall workouts. I thought he did a great job today.” “Going through spring with him and him being an early enrollee, I just knew he was real athletic had good speed,” added Landers who when not throwing the ball for the Black team caught two passes – including the 52-yarder from Bennett – for 54 yards. “He played a little bit of everything in high school, so I knew he had some hands.” Great first impressions, Part 2While Mathis no doubt received a good bit of attention for his play, there were a number of early enrollees who turned in solid performances for Georgia.  Linebacker Nakobe Dean was the Black team’s second-leading tackler with five, while fellow linebacker Nolan Smith recorded two tackles. For the Red team’s defense, Lewis Cine led with eight tackles, including six solos. Tyrique Stevenson was the Red team’s third-leading tackler with five, and defensive back D.J. Daniel had three tackles and two pass breakups. Passing fancySmart generally likes to put the ball in the air on G-Day, and Saturday was no different, as the Black team rolled up 245 passing yards and the Red team recorded 244 air yards. Fromm didn’t start out well with the interception by Stokes in the game’s first offensive series, but he settled down and finished with 14 completions in 29 attempts for 116 yards and a scoring strike to Herrien. “I didn’t throw it as clean as I wanted to today. It is what it is,” Fromm said. “… I think we’ve done a great job the other 14 practices throwing the ball around and making big plays.” Besides Mathis’ impressive day, Bennett – who returned to Georgia in January after a year of junior college seasoning – played for both the Red and the Black, completing a total of 12 of 23 passes for 110 yards. Sophomore John Seter also got in on the action, completing 1 of 2 passes for 11 yards. “I was a little worried about the weather conditions, being able to throw the ball,” Smart said. “I thought it might get sloppy, but the weather helped out and cooperated toward the end. We were able to throw the ball, especially in the first half, when the conditions were pretty good and there was less wind.” One of the quarterbacks’ targets was missing. Fans hoping to see Demetris Robertson’s G-Day debut were no doubt disappointed by his absence. The junior receiver, who transferred from Cal last summer but didn’t do much last season, was sick Friday night and unavailable for Saturday, Smart said. Ain’t that a kick?In the realm of the kicking game, Georgia is well established with senior Rodrigo Blankenship, who in his storied career has connected on 53 of 64 field-goal attempts and has made all 65 of his point-after tries for a total of 313 points. Place-kickers accounted for 15 of Georgia’s combined 39 points, with Blankenship making a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter and an extra point in the second quarter.  Based on Saturday’s scrimmage, the Bulldogs’ kicking game should be in good shape beyond 2019 as sophomore Jake Camarda (also the team’s punter), sophomore Brooks Buce and redshirt freshman Jack Podlesny were all called upon and came through. Buce kicked two extra points and a 42-yard field goal. Camarda added a 49-yard field goal (but later had an extra-point attempt blocked), and Podlesny tallied the final points of the day with a 38-yard field goal with about a minute to play. Blankenship, who has been the face of the kicking game for the past three seasons, said he feels confident his colleagues will carry the banner once he’s gone. “It was great to see all our guys get some opportunities,” he said. “I wish I could play here longer; I’ve had such an incredible time here at UGA. I’m really looking forward to my last season, and the reality is kickers have been here before me and will be here long after me, so I was really proud of the way some of our guys came out and performed. I was really happy to see everybody get opportunities to come out and kick today.” 
  • Georgia Tech football player Brandon Adams was practicing “step dancing” — or stepping — with friends when he collapsed and hit his head late Saturday night, according to an Atlanta police report, leading to the death of the popular Yellow Jackets player that has stunned the team and fan base. According to the report, friends of Adams told Georgia Tech police that they were practicing stepping in the garage area of a townhouse near Tech’s campus when they took a water break, which is when Adams fell backward and hit his head. After going into convulsions, he began to foam at the mouth. He was taken by friends to Emory University Hospital Midtown — hospital personnel told police that he was alive when he arrived — and was later pronounced dead. The report further stated that Adams’ passing appeared to be natural, that there was no apparent foul play involved. Stepping is a dance form common among African-American fraternities and sororities. The fraternity Omega Psi Phi acknowledged to Channel 2 Action News earlier this week that Adams was a candidate to join the fraternity. On Sunday, the organization suspended its “Membership Selection Process” and social activities without explanation. Two messages left Friday with the fraternity and another with its attorney were not returned. The GBI performed an autopsy on Adams on Monday, but determined that more tests, including toxicology, were needed to determine the cause and manner of death. Atlanta police issued a statement with the report to the AJC: “Nothing in Mr. Adams’ autopsy by the GBI on Monday pointed to foul play and we have no evidence right now to merit a criminal investigation. Witnesses have told our investigators that Adams had been participating in a dance routine when he collapsed suddenly. The Department is awaiting toxicology and other lab results being tested by the GBI following the autopsy to determine our next step.” According to the GBI website, the agency uses toxicology tests “to establish whether traces of alcohol, drugs or points are present, and if so, in what quantity.” It may be several weeks before the tests are completed. A rising senior for the Jackets team known for his smile and bear hugs and who held considerable promise as a defensive tackle, the 21-year-old Adams was mourned in a memorial on Monday evening at McCamish Pavilion. A funeral for Adams, from Brentwood, Tenn., also will be held Saturday in Nashville. Staff writer Eric Stirgus contributed to this article.
  • A giver of hugs and a hefty but nimble defensive lineman, Georgia Tech football player Brandon Adams died late Saturday night at the age of 21. According to a statement from Atlanta police, citing information provided by Georgia Tech police, Adams collapsed at a home near campus and was taken by friends to Emory University Hospital Midtown, where he was later pronounced dead. The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy beginning Monday morning to determine the cause of death. Adams, from Brentwood, Tenn., was set to begin spring practice with the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday in preparation for his senior season. (As of Sunday evening, the team’s plan was to continue with spring practice, the first of coach Geoff Collins’ tenure, as scheduled.) » More: Teammates, coaches mourn Adams on social media “We lost an unbelievable kid,” former Yellow Jackets assistant coach Andy McCollum said. “I can’t even put it into words.” Adams was expected to play a significant role on the team this fall. He played in 33 games over three seasons and had his best season in 2018, with 24 tackles, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He was a business administration major. The death of the young man who weighed in at 325 pounds and answered to “Big B” will be felt this fall in Jackets’ box scores – he was a likely starter with clear NFL potential – but far more so in aching hearts. From a tweet from a former teammate, Desmond Branch: “One of the best, genuine, loving and overall happy people I have ever met. Always had a smile on his face, got along with everyone.” From a statement from Collins: “Our entire Georgia Tech football family is heartbroken by the news of Brandon’s passing. In the short time that I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Brandon, I admired and respected him, first and foremost as a terrific human being, but also as an outstanding teammate and leader.” “He always wanted to hug you,” said Kyle Cerge-Henderson, who played on the defensive line with Adams for the past three seasons. “Everybody in the Georgia Tech athletic department can tell you that Brandon Adams gave the greatest hugs of all-time.” Cerge-Henderson and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in February 2017. Shortly after Ava’s birth, Cerge-Henderson got a call from his friend. Adams wanted to know if he could bring her some cheese puffs. From there on out, Cerge-Henderson said, he occasionally continued the distinctive gift-giving practice. “At her birthday party, he brought her a bunny — because I told her she loved stuffed animals — and a big bag of cheese puffs,” Cerge-Henderson said. Former coach Paul Johnson said that, whenever Adams was in the football offices, he went out of his way to stop by his office to see how he was doing, and did likewise with Johnson’s wife Susan on road trips. He last saw Adams when Johnson was recently at Tech getting treatment for his back. “He just saw me on the table and he came over, ‘Coach, man, how are you doing? You playing golf? You getting a lot of golf in?’ ” Johnson recalled. Johnson in turn asked about Adams’ weight — often a challenge — “and he said, ‘Man, I’m getting it.’ I said, ‘Good, I’m anxious to watch you play this fall.’ He was just always smiling.” McCollum recruited Adams out of Brentwood Academy, where he was a three-sport star. While no longer at Tech, McCollum said that he’d recently received a text message from Adams telling him he loved and missed him. “He was just like a lightbulb in the room,” McCollum said. “When he walked in, the whole room lights up. Biggest heart of any kid I’ve ever been around.” Jackets players and coaches had a chance to share their grief Sunday night as they gathered for a previously scheduled team meeting upon their return to campus from spring break.  Adams is survived by his mother, Lisa Greer, his stepfather, Reginald Woods, and sister, Rian. Memorial information was not available as of Sunday evening. More informal memorials are already scheduled. Cerge-Henderon said that he and his wife will give their daughter cheese puffs for every birthday going forward to remember Adams. Johnson will remember a young man quick with a fist bump and a big smile who liked to dabble on the piano when the coach had team members over to his home. “I think he was very talented, not just in football,” Johnson said. “He was very talented. Smart kid with a great personality. He was going to be very successful, I think, no matter what he did, whether it was in football or off the field in a career. Whatever he did, I think he had a chance to be special. He was a special kid.”
  • Georgia freshman cornerback Tyrique Stevenson was arrested early Sunday morning on charges of disorderly conduct, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail booking recap. The Athens Clark County police department arrested Stevenson at 2:42 a.m. Sunday morning on the misdemeanor charge and he was released at 3:26 a.m. after posting a $1,000 bond. Stevenson is a 5-star recruit from Homestead, Fla., who attended Miami Southridge High School before enrolling in January at Georgia. Stevenson is the third Georgia football player who has been arrested in the last month. Bulldogs reserve linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested last Wednesday by UGA police for illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle and driving with a suspended/revoked license. Latavious Brini was arrested and charged with simple battery after allegedly slapping a man out an Athens bar on Feb. 28. Smart has yet to issue a statement on Stevenson.
  • Georgia State is going dancing for the fifth time in program history after defeating UT-Arlington, 73-64, Sunday in the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game. It’s the first time the Panthers have repeated as Sun Belt tournament champions. With the win Georgia State clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Panthers are the No. 14 seed in the Midwest, facing third-seeded Houston at 7:20 p.m. Friday in Tulsa, Okla. The last time Georgia State was a 14th seed was in 2015, when R.J. Hunter hit a 30-foot 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds to play to stun No. 3-seed Baylor.  On Sunday, Georgia State was down eight points early in the first half, but a strong offensive spurt and solid free throw shooting helped them climb back. The Panthers tied the game at 17, but UTA stretched its lead to six with back-to-back 3s. Then Georgia State went on a 9-0 run after senior forward Jeff Thomas was fouled on a 3-point shot, making all three free throws, and sophomore guard Kane Williams converted a four-point play on the next possession. The run gave Georgia State the lead, and they never looked back. “It was big,” said Williams, who was named to the all-tournament team. “I think it was a momentum swinger, and after that I feel like we got the tide rolling.” Georgia State led 36-31 at halftime and shot 11-of-11 at the free throw line in the first half despite shooting 66 percent on the season. Much like Saturday’s win over Texas State, defense proved to be the key again for the Panthers. Georgia State held UTA scoreless for six and a half minutes of game time from the end of the first half and five minutes into the second half. In that time the Panthers pushed their lead from one to 12 before a 7-0 run by UTA cut the score to 43-38. UTA pulled within five multiple times in the second half, but they failed to come any closer than that for most of the half. Senior guard Devin Mitchell played a big part in maintaining the lead. He came off the bench in the second half and scored eight consecutive points for the Panthers. Senior forward Malik Benlevi followed Mitchell up with an 8-point run of his own as Georgia State seized control of the game leading, 64-52. UTA made it a game coming out of a timeout. The Mavericks had easy fastbreak layups and went on an 8-0 run, cutting Georgia State’s lead to 64-60 with less than two minutes to play. Junior guard Damon Wilson broke up the run with two free throws, and Williams extended the lead back to eight with another two free throws. UTA missed multiple 3s in an attempt to come back, and with 56 seconds left, junior guard D’Marcus Simonds converted a free throw to make it a 10-point game. “We weren’t the greatest free throw shooting, and I couldn’t understand it because we shoot the ball so well,” said Georgia State coach Ron Hunter. “But we have been great at the end of the game with five minutes left. With five minutes left in the game we’ve been tremendous free throw shooters. “I knew when we get it inside five we were pretty locked in at that particular time, and that’s when you have to make them.” Benlevi iced the game with two more free throws before Hunter pulled his starters to a round of applause by the Georgia State faithful who made their way to New Orleans. Benlevi finished the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after recording double-doubles in both games.