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Men’s Basketball: UL to play Creighton on Friday in San Antonio -Cajuns advance by beating GS in OT

Daily Advertiser, March 16, 2014

Click here for video of Coach Marlin post interview with Chad Washington.

The UL Ragin’ Cajuns overcame an 11-point deficit in the final 5:19 to force overtime and then converted turnovers into points in the overtime session to claim a dramatic 82-81 overtime win over No. 1 seed Georgia State Sunday at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

UL received a No. 14 seed will now go to San Antonio to play No. 3 Creighton on Friday in the NCAA tournament. The winner will meet the Nebraska-Baylor winner.

“They’ve got one of the best forwards in college basketball, but I think we have a great defense, and we’re hot right now, so I think we’ve got a good chance to upset them,” UL guard Elfrid Payton said.

“I feel very confident going into the game,” UL forward Shawn Long said. “This group of guys we’ve got, I think we can play with anybody in the country.”

The win earned the program’s first NCAA berth since 2005 when the Cajuns beat Denver in the Sun Belt Tournament finals and lost 68-62 to No. 4 Louisville in the NCAA’s first round.

“What a basketball game,” UL coach Bob Marlin said. “We extended it five more minutes. We said we wanted to play 120. I didn’t know it was 125.”

Xavian Rimmer led the way for the Cajuns with 27 points. Elfrid Payton added 19 points. Bryant Mbamalu had 13 points and seven rebounds.

“They played almost the entire second half together and made big plays together – both of ’em. I’m really proud of ’em,” Marlin said. “We stepped up. Xavian Rimmer had a huge game for us shooting the basketball.”

“They had the best record in the league this year, so they weren’t gonna just lay down,” Mbamalu said. “I mean, we knew that. But, at the same time, I feel like this was a team of destiny.”

Georgia State’s Ryan Harrow scored a career-high 37 points, but missed the potential game-winning shot with 1 second left.

“We beat a good basketball team,” Marlin said. “They’re tough because they can score in so many ways, and Ryan Harrow was sensational. … He was really hard to guard. He got to the basket, he made several difficult shots, and I thought that was huge for their team to keep them in there.

Georgia State’s Ryan Harrow scored a career-high 37 points, but missed the potential game-winning shot with 1 second left.

The NCAA berth was the 10th in the program’s history.

Mbamalu, off an assist from Shawn Long, hit a short jumper with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

The Cajuns’ last win in the NCAA Tournament was 87-83 upset of No. 4 Oklahoma in 1992.

The NCAA berth was the 10th in the program’s history.

“It’s big,” Payton said. “I’m really excited to go into the NCAA Tournament. I think we’re a team to watch out for. I feel we can score in so many ways, and now that our defense has picked up these last 11, 12 games we can play with anybody.”

The Cajuns will learn of their destination during the NCAA Selection Show, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on CBS.