Justin Williams went from afterthought to hero when he popped a three-pointer with two seconds left to life Oklahoma Baptist to a mild upset over 14th-seed Auburn-Montgomery, 71-70 in overtime.
The Bison trailed by four with under a minute left in the extra period, but Brian Hill was fouled and hit both of his free throws to cut it to 70-68 with 37 seconds left. OBU forced a tie ball on the AUM inbound, but the Senators had the possession arrow.
Instead of running down the clock with the lead, Quadavious Brown put up a shot with 16 seconds to play and Aaron Perez snatched the rebound.
With the ball in Brent Jones' hands for the last OBU possession, AUM had to be mindful of the point guard's ability to drive, which had netted him 20 points to that point of the game. Instead, he kicked it off to the right wing and Williams knocked down the big shot.
"We wanted it in Brent's hands," said OBU coach Doug Tolin. "The play was set up for him, but he made a great decision. Justin's shot looked good when it left his hand. I didn't know if it would go in, but it looked good."
"It felt good when I released it," Williams said, "and when it went in, it was a dream come true. The last game-winning shot I had was probably in sixth grade."
AUM got the ball in with 1.6 seconds left, but OBU batted it out of bounds with .3 seconds left at mid-court. Kip Small's attempt at a lob was denied when Charles Carter got his 6-10 frame high in the air to block the pass just after it left Small's hand.
The game included an amazing 25 lead changes and 18 ties.
OBU also trailed 60-59 with 53 seconds left in regulation, but Al Moore scored and was fouled by Nathan Thomas. Moore added the free throw for a 62-60 lead with 35 seconds remaining.
AUM got the last shot and missed, but Small gathered the rebound, made the basket underneath and was fouled with six seconds left. Small, however, missed the free throw and Moore picked up the rebound.
"Our guys have played really hard to get here and we have played on edge for about a month," Tolin said. "We missed two lay-ups in overtime, which is the kind of stuff that will do you in. We caught a break and made a shot at the end. We were just really lucky today."
Auburn-Montgomery suffered a big blow when season-leading scorer Ronnie Hickman left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. He finished with four points in just over 12 minutes of action.
Joshua Randall almost made up the difference, finishing with 25 points to go along with a huge 23 rebounds. He had 10 of the Senators' 20 offensive rebounds, which led to a 20-11 AUM edge in second-chance points.
"I think he played the greatest basketball game of the 2007-08 season," said AUM coach Larry Chapman. "But that doesn't surprise me. His effort and performance showed that he really is passionate."
Following Jones' 20-points for OBU were Hill with 14 and Williams with 11. Moore and Perez had nine each with Moore blocking four shots while Perez hauled in a season-high 12 rebounds.
Now 23-9, the Bison play the third seed Lambuth University or St. Xavier in the Sweet 16.
The win makes OBU 8-0 in first round games since Tolin became head coach. Tolin is 6-1 in the second round.
AUM finished the year at 19-9.