NEW YORK (KDKA/AP) – The Long Island Blackbirds needed overtime to beat Robert Morris 85-82 on Wednesday night.
LIU’s win dethrones Robert Morris as the two-time defending NEC champions and earns the Blackbirds their first NCAA Tournament bid in 14 years.
LIU’s Jamal Olasewere scored seven of his 31 points in overtime and finished the game with 11 rebounds, one assist and four steals.
LIU was leading by a point with seven seconds left in overtime, then Jason Brickman hit two free throws to give the Blackbirds a three-point lead. The Colonials inbounded the ball and Russell Johnson missed a potential game tying three-pointer.
But the rebound bounced out-of-bounds with 0.6 left and third-seeded Robert Morris had one more chance. Johnson’s catch-and-shoot three at the buzzer from the wing hit the front of the rim and within seconds Blackbirds fans sprinted on to the court to celebrate the school’s first NEC championship since 1997.
Johnson was the leading scorer for the Colonials with 22 points and eight rebounds. Velton Jones added 20 points, Lijah Thompson had 15 points and Coron Williams added 12 points.
After the game Jones said, Wednesday’s loss to LIU was “worse than the Villanova loss,” last year in the NCAA Tournament.