MURRAY, Ky. — KJ Williams scored six of his 18 points in overtime after Murray State blew an eight-point lead late in regulation, and the seventh-seeded Racers extended their winning streak to 21 games with a 92-87 victory over San Francisco in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
The Racers (31-2) tied South Dakota State for the longest winning streak in the nation this season. With SDSU's loss to Providence earlier Thursday, Murray State can edge ahead in Saturday's East Region second-round game against Saint Peter's. The 15th-seeded Peacocks toppled Kentucky 85-79 in OT.
Update: Murray State's season ends in loss to St. Peter's 70-60 on Saturday, March 19.
The nightcap in Indianapolis was just as tight, with 18 lead changes and 14 ties. Murray State ultimately took control with Williams' clutch baskets and Jordan Skipper-Brown's timely plays in the extra session.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 36 points for USF (24-10), which made its first NCAA appearance since 1998.
Williams made a go-ahead layup with 1:15 remaining before Skipper-Brown's layup made it 89-85 with 30 seconds left. Zane Meeks' putback got USF within a basket, but he missed a free throw. Skipper-Brown made two free throws with 13.7 seconds left before adding another with 1.7 seconds remaining to seal the win.
The Racers led 73-65 with 1:58 remaining in regulation, but Khalil Shabazz made a 3-pointer and Bouyea followed with five straight points.
Trae Hannibal also had 18 points for Murray State before fouling out late in regulation. Brown added 17, Justice Hill scored 15 and Skipper-Brown had 12 points and 10 rebounds, all of which the Racers needed to gut out their latest win.
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