Senior Emil Jones scored nine of his team-high 18 points in overtime to lead Troy to an 81-79 victory over Florida Atlantic Friday night in their Sun Belt Conference Tournament opener in Hot Springs, Ark.
The 10th-seeded Trojans (12-20) advance to meet Arkansas State in a second-round game Saturday night. As the tourney's No. 2 seed, the Red Wolves had a first-round bye.
After FAU's Stefan Moody, who led all scorers with 29 points, missed a fadeaway jumper at the end of regulation, the two teams went to the extra period knotted 70-70.
Jones scored Troy's first eight points of overtime, giving the Trojans the lead for good with 3:16 left with a layup that made it 76-74, and his jumper at 2:35 made it a four-point game.
The Owls (14-18) weren't done, however. Greg Gantt's layup pulled them to within 80-79 with 1:11 left, and when Jones made only one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining, the Owls had a chance to either tie with a basket or win it with a 3-pointer. Moody missed a jumper at the buzzer to end FAU's season.
In addition to Moody, Pablo Bertone chipped in with 20 points and Gantt had 19, including 15 in the second half and overtime.
The Owls shot 52.6 percent from the floor (30 of 57) but had 11 turnovers to just five for the Trojans, who shot 46.0 (29 of 63).
Backing up Jones for Troy were Ray Chambers with 15 points and Tevin Calhoun with 12.