NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kerron Johnson hit a 10-foot pull-up jumper with 1.2 seconds left, and Belmont capped its first season in the Ohio Valley Conference by beating league power Murray State 70-68 in overtime Saturday night for the tournament championship.
The Bruins (26-6) had won five tournament championships in the Atlantic Sun, and they picked up right where they left off, earning their sixth NCAA tournament berth in eight seasons. The former NAIA program also notched its 1,000th victory in a thriller.
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Murray State (21-10) hadn't lost in this final since 2000, and the Racers had a chance at their third championship in four years and 16th overall. A win also would have been their 1,500th.
The Bruins got the ball for Johnson's shot when Isaiah Canaan lost it off his foot for a back-court violation.
The Racers couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.
Johnson finished with 12 points after hitting the jumper with 9.1 seconds left in regulation that forced overtime. J.J. Mann led Belmont with 18 points, Trevor Noack had 14 and Ian Clark had 11.
Canaan finished with 22 points for Murray State, and Stacy Wilson added 23, including 5 of 7 shooting from 3-point range.
Murray State led 58-51 with 3:10 left on a 3-pointer by Wilson from the right corner that just beat the shot clock. But they only got one more bucket the rest of regulation on a dunk by Ed Daniel, and the Racers went 2 for 6 at the free throw line in the final 2:07.
The Bruins came back with an 11-4 run started by a 3-pointer by Mann. Clark hit a running jumper to pull the Bruins within 62-60, and they then fouled Daniel who missed both of his free throws with 20 seconds left, and Johnson hit a jumper with 9.1 seconds left to tie it for the eighth time. Latreze Mushatt had a chance to win it for the Racers, but his jumper was left of the rim at the buzzer.
In overtime, the Racers went up 66-64 on a pair of free throws by Canaan with 2:35 left. Wilson also rebounded a missed 3 by Canaan and hit a jumper for a 68-66 lead with 1:01 left.
But Johnson, who had to leave the game when fouled with 4:13 left to get his chin bandaged, hit two free throws that tied it up at 68 with 46.8 seconds to go.
The Racers had the ball and plenty of time to take the go-ahead shot except Canaan lost the ball over the mid-court line with 25.1 seconds remaining. Belmont took a timeout then Johnson ignored teammates as he watched the shot clock before driving toward the lane only to pull up and hit his jumper over Daniel.
Officials reviewed the play and put 0.5 seconds back on the clock, giving Murray State 1.2 seconds to try to tie it up. With fans on their feet, Daniel couldn't reach the ball near the bucket with two Bruins guarding him just before the buzzer sounded.
The Racers outshot Belmont 53.3 percent (24 of 45) to 49.1 percent (28 of 57) and outrebounded the Bruins 33-23.
But the Racers also turned it over 26 times, and Belmont turned that into a 27-16 scoring edge.