ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Travis Williams scored 22 points and Tony Rhine added 19 as Georgia State upset Samford 71-57 Thursday in the opening round of the Trans America Athletic Conference Championship tournament.

Georgia State (11-16, 7-10) advanced to the semifinals, where it will face the winner of the Mercer-Centenary game.

In knocking Samford (16-11, 11-6) out of the tournament, Georgia State squandered a 16-point first-half lead before reestablishing control late in the game.

With forward Terence Brandon leading the way, the Panthers jumped out to a 23-7 advantage with 10:26 left in the first half. Brandon scored 10 points to key the run, but the Bulldogs fought their way back into the contest by finishing the half with a 14-3 run and trailed only 33-28 at the half.

Samford twice cut Georgia State's lead to two points in the second half. But after a pair of free throws by Joey Davenport brought the Bulldogs to within 41-39 with 10:17 left to play, the comeback fizzled as the Panthers inside attack forced Samford into numerous fouls. In the final 1:58, Georgia State scored 12 straight points on free throws to put the game away.

For Georgia State, which was seeded seventh for the TAAC tourney, the victory snapped a 3-game losing streak against the Bulldogs. In addition to winning both regular season contests against the Panthers, Samford had ousted Georgia State in the first round of last year's TAAC tournament.

Brandon had 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Jonathan Pixley led Samford with 16 points.