INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — KJ Williams scored six of his 18 points in overtime after Murray State lost an eight-point lead late in regulation, and the seventh-seeded Racers extended their winning streak to 21 games with a 92-87 win 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 get ahead in Saturday’s East Region second-round game against Saint Peter’s. The 15th-seeded Peacocks toppled Kentucky 85-79 in overtime.
The last drink in Indianapolis was just as close, with 18 lead changes and 14 ties. Murray State finally took control with clutch baskets from Williams and timely plays from Jordan Skipper-Brown in the extra session.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 36 points for USF (24-10), which made its first NCAA appearance since 1998.
Williams made a layup with 1:15 remaining before Skipper-Brown’s layup made it 89-85 with 30 seconds left. Zane Meeks’ backhand got USF to a field goal, but he missed a free throw. Skipper-Brown made two free throws with 13.7 seconds left before adding another with 1.7 seconds left to seal the win.
The Racers led 73-65 with 1:58 remaining in regulation time, but Khalil Shabazz made a 3-pointer and Bouyea followed with five straight points.
Trae Hannibal also had 18 points for Murray State before committing a foul late in regulation. Brown added 17, Justice Hill scored 15 and Skipper-Brown had 12 points and 10 rebounds, which the Racers needed to empty out their latest win.
San Francisco owned the paint 40-36 but were passed 43-35, and that made the difference.
Murray State got the balance it wanted and needed to survive the Dons.
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