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Xavier eliminates Cinderella Georgia State

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- All the focus was on Georgia State's bench because of coach Ron Hunter, his torn Achilles tendon and the now-famous stool he used to work the sideline in the NCAA Tournament.

But it was Xavier's bench that stole the show last night in a 75-67 win that sent the Musketeers to the Sweet 16 for the third time in six seasons under coach Chris Mack.

"It's a great feeling," point guard Dee Davis said after reserves Jalen Reynolds (21 points) and Myles Davis totaled 38 points to end the tourney's biggest feel-good story.

Xavier shot 81 percent in the second half, making 13 of 16 shots. The Musketeers (23-13) were even better from the foul line, making 22 of 25 (88 percent) for the game.

"They almost had to play the perfect game," said Hunter, who wept during Georgia State's postgame news conference. "I thought our game plan was great. If they had just made a couple mistakes here and there, and they just didn't. They beat us, we didn't beat ourselves. We can walk away a little bit more proud."

Xavier will face second-seeded Arizona -- led by former Xavier coach Sean Miller -- in the West Regional semifinals in Los Angeles. Mack is a former Miller assistant.

"Sean gave me a heck of an opportunity to come back to my alma mater,'' Mack said. "He put a lot of responsibility and trust in me. He ultimately really pushed for me to become the head coach, and for that I'm eternally grateful. It's hard to play against one of your best friends in the business. But it really won't matter to our guys, nor will it matter to Arizona, because those guys don't know me from a bucket of paint."

Georgia State (25-10) became the tournament darling with an comeback that eliminated third-seeded Baylor. Hunter already was a big story after tearing his left Achilles tendon while celebrating after winning the Sun Belt Conference title. He then enjoyed a father-son moment he'll always cherish after R.J. Hunter beat Baylor with a 30-foot shot -- which prompted Dad to fall off his stool and crack his cast.

R.J. was outstanding against Xavier, scoring 20 points. Ron Hunter pulled him with 20 seconds left and stood to give his son a big bear hug.

"What a great week. Unbelievable week. There's nothing to be sad about, especially for me," the coach said. "We'll be back . . . But it's not even about that now," he added, turning to his son. "As a coach, best time of my life. But as a father -- I love this kid, man. I love you."

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