Harris, Russell help SEMO beat Tennessee Tech in OT, win OVC

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Chris Harris scored 26 points, Phillip Russell added 21 — including the game’s last seven points — and No. 5 seed Southeast Missouri State beat Tennessee Tech 89-82 in overtime Saturday night to win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Israel Barnes scored 16 of his 19 points after halftime for Southeast Missouri State (19-16). The Redhawks won four games in as many days. including a 65-57 win over top-seeded beat Morehead State 65-57 in the semifinals Friday, to seal their first trip to the Big Dance since 2000.

Barnes converted a three-point play and hit a 3-pointer to give the Redhawks an 82-80 lead with 1:38 left. Tennessee Tech’s Jayvin Harvey tied it with two free throws 21 seconds later, but Russell hung in the air to finish a driving layup and then made 5 of 6 from the foul line in the final 35 seconds to cap the scoring.

Diante Wood made 8 of 15 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line to lead No. 2 seed Tennessee Tech (16-17) with 24 points. Brett Thompson added 18 points, Jaylen Sebree scored 14 and Jayvis Harvey 13.

Thompson scored Tennessee Tech’s first seven points and Seebree added six in a 15-3 run that gave the Golden Eagles their first lead at 44-43 with 12:59 to play in regulation. Harris made two free throws and then a jumper — Southeast Missouri State’s first made field goal in nearly-eight minutes — before Adam Larson capped six consecutive Redhawks points with a pair of foul shots that gave them five-point lead with 11 minutes left.

Harvey hit a 3-pointer and scored in the lane before Thompson hit another 3 to give Tennessee Tech a one-point lead with 10 seconds left in the second half. Harris was fouled on a 3-point shot with 2.2 seconds remaining and hit all three free throws before Wood caught a long inbounds pass from the far baseline and hit a turn-around jumper from just inside the arc as time expired in regulation to make it 75-all and force overtime.

Johnson made back-to-back baskets before Russell hit a 3-pointer to make it 7-0 and Harris scored seven points to cap an 11-2 run and stretch the lead to 29-19 with 5:28 left in the first half.

Harris hit a 3-pointer and Barnes followed with a layup to open the second half and give Southeast Missouri State its biggest lead at 42-27 early in the second half.

The Golden Eagles have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1963 — the nation’s second-longest active streak of its kind. Dartmouth has missed the tourney every year since 1959.


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