Georgia State overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to tie it, but Mercer got huge play down the stretch from Justin Cecil as the Bears survived for a 64-59 win Saturday in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the University Center.
The Panthers trailed by 14 not long after head coach Ron Hunter was ejected with 11:48 left. They tied it with 4:51 remaining, but Mercer regained the lead and some momentum. But Jihad Ali's 3-pointer pulled the Panthers within 61-59 with 35.8 seconds left.
Langston Hall was fouled eight seconds later and made both for a 62-59 lead. Georgia State got an offense rebound and called time with 11.2 seconds left. The Panthers then got two shots, both tough looks, and couldn't convert, fouling Bud Thomas on the rebound with 1.3 seconds left. He sealed it with two free throws.
Cecil had 19 points while Hall had 12 and Jake Gollon 10. Devonta White topped Georgia State with 18.
Mercer will play the winner of Sundays Old Dominion-USC Upstate game. If ODU wins, Mercer travels to Norfolk to play. If USC Upstate wins, Mercer will host. The game will be played Wednesday.