Murray State (21-10), a #6 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, could not survive a tremendous late run from the Ohio Valley Conference #1 seed Belmont Bruins (26-6) falling 70-68 in overtime.
Kerron Johnson made two big shots, once in overtime with 1.2 seconds left to win the title and once to tie the game in regulation, capping off a comeback that had the Bruins down seven with two minutes late. A Murray State win would have meant both teams went to the tournament and one less team from the Middle 20, but with the Belmont win Murray State will not be invited.
Johnson scored 12 points in the game, only behind only J.J. Mann who had 18 points. Leading scorer and OVC Co-Player of the Year, Ian Clark, was held to only 11 points.
Meanwhile, the other Co-Player of the Year, Isaiah Canaan, scored 22 points for Murray State but hurt their chances with a late dribble off of the foot in the final 30 seconds. The senior is known as one of college basketball’s class acts.
This is Belmont’s first year in the conference, and they will represent the OVC in the NCAA Tournament.