R.J. HUNTER kept firing away, eventually lifting 14th-seeded Georgia State over third-seeded Baylor and knocking his father right off his seat with the biggest shot of his life.
Hunter's three-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining capped a comeback from a 12-point deficit and lifted the Panthers to a 57-56, opening-game victory over the Bears in the West Regional yesterday in Jacksonville, Fla.
With Ron Hunter working the sideline on a rolling chair less than a week after tearing his left Achilles' tendon celebrating Georgia State (25-9) winning the Sun Belt Conference championship, R.J. shrugged off a poor shooting performance to come through when his team needed him most.
"It was a great game, but I'm not going to coach, I'm going to be Dad right now," said Hunter, who fell off his seat and had to be helped up after R.J. made the second of two long three-pointers that helped the Panthers advance. "This is my son. Proud of him."
Baylor (24-10), which got 18 points and 15 rebounds from reserve Taurean Prince, did not score after going up 56-44 on two free throws with 2:54 remaining.
Pesky Georgia State's full-court trapping defense forced three critical turnovers and Hunter scored nine straight points, including a three that brought chants of "R.J. 3, R.J. 3, R.J. 3" from Panthers fans at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Georgia State will face sixth-seed Xavier tomorrow.
In other games at Jacksonville:
* Justin Jackson hit a tying jumper in the final minute, and then had a fastbreak dunk to help fourth-seeded North Carolina hold off Harvard, 67-65.
The Tar Heels (25-11) wasted a 16-point, second-half lead and briefly trailed before Jackson came to the rescue.
Siyani Chambers' four-point play put 13th-seeded Harvard (22-8) ahead, 65-63, with 1:15 remaining. It was the only lead of the game for the Ivy League champions.
* Matt Stainbrook scored 20 points, Dee Davis added 17 and sixth-seeded Xavier (22-13) beat No. 11 seed Mississippi, 76-57.
Stainbrook took advantage of his size in the post, making 8 of 10 shots in the paint and adding nine rebounds and five assists.
At Portland, Ore.:
* Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 23 points, 16 in the first half, along with 10 rebounds and the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats overwhelmed No. 15 seed Texas Southern from the start for a 93-72 victory.
Pac-12 freshman of the year Stanley Johnson added 22 points for the balanced Wildcats (32-3), who led by as many as 27 points.
Arizona goes on to meet Ohio State tomorrow.