D’Marcus Simonds’ first-half scoring heroics weren’t enough to carry Georgia State to an upset win over Cincinnati Friday in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Belt Player of the Year scored the Panthers’ first 16 points and finished with 24 overall, but the Panthers fell to the Bearcats by a final of 68-53.
The bigger and more physical Bearcats dominated the glass (46-26) and received a sizzling first half of their own from Jarron Cumberland, who matched Simonds’ first half total of 18. Cumberland finished with 27 points.
Cumberland received more scoring help from his friends as three other Bearcats reached double figures. Isaiah Williams came off the Panther bench to score eight second-half points and finish with 10.
Georgia State (25-10) played a one-on-one game, driving relentlessly to the rim, but coming up empty far too often. The Panthers recorded three assists. THREE. Simonds made six of his first seven shots and converted just four of his next 14.
The Panthers took a second-half lead (47-46) with 9:30 to go, and the Bearcats ran off the next 10 points and never looked back.
Cincinnati (31-4) also received double-digit scoring performances from Kyle Washington (13), Gary Clark (11) and Jacob Evans (10).
The Bearcats await the winner of the Texas and Nevada coming up next here in Nashville.