Senior guard Kerron Johnson scored with two seconds left in overtime, helping top-seeded Belmont secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 70-68 victory over second-seeded Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament final Saturday at Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Junior swingman J.J. Mann had 18 points and seven rebounds for Belmont (26-6), which won five Atlantic Sun Conference tournaments from 2006-2012 before moving to the Ohio Valley this season.
Senior guard Isaiah Canaan flirted with a triple-double, posting 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Murray State (21-10), which had won the Ohio Valley tournament two of the past three years.
The Bruins went up 26-21 early in the second half, but Murray State mounted a 17-2 run to take a 38-28 lead when Canaan converted a 3-point play with 15:30 remaining. Belmont stormed back, scoring the next 13 points to take a 41-38 lead on a 3-pointer by Ian Clark with 10:42 to go.
Belmont forced overtime when Johnson scored with 10 seconds to play in regulation. Johnson tied the game again with two free throws with 47 seconds left in overtime and made the go-ahead basket in the final seconds.