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Sun Belt Tournament rundown: Georgia St and Louisiana-Lafayette left to battle for the bid

It's been an amazing Sun Belt Conference Tournament this week in New Orleans. Here's a quick rundown of everything that has gotten us to today's much anticipated Georgia State vs Louisiana-Lafayette Championship Game.

R.J. Hunter and the #1 seed Georgia St. Panthers will face UL Lafayette in the Sun Belt CHampionship
R.J. Hunter and the #1 seed Georgia St. Panthers will face UL Lafayette in the Sun Belt CHampionship

#5 UALR 74, #8 Troy 61

The UALR Trojans used a dominant second half defensive performance to eliminate the Troy Trojans in the Sun Belt Tournament's opening game. The teams were tied at 33 at the half, and tied at 44, when UALR held Troy scoreless for more than eight minutes. The result was a 16-0 run that put the game away for Little Rock. Josh Hagins led the way for UALR with 15 points and eight boards off the bench. James White scored 14 with six rebounds.

#6 UT-Arlington 68, #7 UL-Monroe 65

The ULM Warhawks led for much of the game as they tried for the upset, but they scored just two points over the game's final 2:37 as Texas-Arlington rallied for the win. Monroe had a couple chances at the tie in the closing chances but couldn't hit the shot. Reger Dowell led UTA with 18 points, but 6-9 junior Anthony Walker was a major force inside and was the difference in the second half for the Mavericks. Walker scored 12 and grabbed 10 rebounds, and several times in the second half followed UTA misses with dunk putbacks. Tylor Ongwae played admirably for ULM, scoring 20 points before fouling out late.

#4 Arkansas St. 116, #5 UALR 114 (4 OT)

Wow. Wow wow wow. Perhaps the most incredible game of 2014 Championship Week came here in the Sun Belt's second round between these two in-state rivals when the Arkansas St. Red Wolves beat the UALR Trojans in quadruple overtime to advance to the Sun Belt semifinals. UALR led by six late in regulation, but ASU rallied to take a one point lead. Little Rock then had a chance to win, but James White split a pair of free throws to force overtime. ASU then led by three in the closing seconds of the second OT, but UALR's Leroy Isler nailed a three pointer just before the buzzer to force a third OT. UALR then had the ball last but missed at the buzzer to send the game to a fourth OT. In the closing seconds of OT number four, ASU trailed by one when Melvin Johnson III made a spinning layup and was fouled. After the free throw ASU led by two. UALR looked for a game-winning three point shot but the Red Wolves locked down defensively and UALR never got a shot off before the final buzzer.

Ed Townsel scored 32 points for ASU. Kirk Van Slyke added 24. Isler led UALR with 25 points.

#3 UL-Lafayette 91, #6 UT-Arlington 85

Shawn Long was absolutely dominant for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns as the third seed advanced to the Sun Belt semifinals. Long scored 19 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and blocked five shots in one of the best performances of his already ridiculous season. Xavian Rimmer scored 24 and Bryant Mbamalu added 20 for the victorious Cajuns. Jamel Outler scored 26 and Reger Dowell scored 25 for UTA.

#1 Georgia St 72, #4 Arkansas St 45

As great as the quadruple overtime classic with UALR was, you have to think it contributed mightily to the final score in this one as the top-seeded Georgia St. Panthers cruised to a 27 point win over Arkansas St. In two regular season meetings, GSU beat ASU by a combined four points and one of the games went to overtime. In this one, the Red Wolves kept it close for a while, but eventually GSU started rolling and there was nothing ASU could do to stop it. Ryan Harrow led the way for GSU scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He added added four assists. Sun Belt Player of the Year R.J. Hunter scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Kendrick Washington led ASU with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

#3 UL-Lafayette 73, #2 Western KY 72

The quest for three straight Sun Belt Tournament titles ended in one game for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, as they lost their final Sun Belt Conference game to their long-time rivals from Louisiana-Lafayette. Elfrid Payton, one of two Cajuns stars, led the way with another amazing performance. After a three pointer by Chris Harrison-Docks put WKU up a point, Payton made a driving layup with just over a minute to play to give the Cajuns a one point advantage. After both teams failed to score, Western's T.J. Price raced up the court but couldn't finish a driving layup at the buzzer for the win. Payton scored 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting. He added nine assists, seven rebounds, and four steals. Shawn Long was limited to just nine points and three rebounds before fouling out, but Bryant Mbamalu picked up the slack and matched Payton's 23 points. WKU's duo of Price and George Fant both scored 16 in the loss.

Sun Belt Championship

#1 Georgia St vs #3 Louisiana-Lafayette

The Sun Belt Championship game should be an outstanding show for the ESPN2 audience. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. eastern (12:00 p.m. local time) tip at the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA. The most talent the league could possibly have matched up for the national audience will be on display.

In the first meeting (Jan. 23rd) this year, Georgia State escaped the Cajundome in Lafayette with a 77-70 win. R.J. Hunter poured in 33 points, making 5-of-7 from three-point range to lead the Panthers. In one stretch, Hunter scored 18 consecutive GSU points during the decisive run that put the Cajuns away. Shawn Long scored 17 points with 15 rebounds, while Elfrid Payton scored 22 for the Cajuns.

In the second meeting (Feb 22nd), Georgia State beat visiting UL Lafayette 80-77 thanks to a buzzer beating three point basket by Manny Atkins. The Cajuns rallied from nine down with 1:45 to play to tie the game before Atkins' heroics. Ryan Harrow's 18 points led GSU. Shawn Long's 22 points and eight rebounds led the Cajuns.

In the two games combined, Georgia State shot 16-of-31 on three point shots against the Cajuns.