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Murray State Sinks NCAA Bid

Twice this year Southeast Missouri has had a victory over Murray State within reach and twice Aubrey Reese has turned those wins into losses.

Reese hit a running one-handed shot at the buzzer Sunday to give Murray State a 62-61 victory against Southeast Missouri in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game. In January, his leaning bank shot with one tenth of a second left gave the Racers a 71-70 victory.

"I'm sick of him," Southeast Missouri coach Gary Garner said.

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  • Reese's game-winner, from just inside the 3-point line, came five seconds after Southeast Missouri's Kahn Cotton hit a long 3-pointer over Reese to give the Indians a 61-60 lead.

    Following a timeout, Reese took an inbound pass and raced the length of the court, getting off his shot with less than a second remaining.

    "Instead of being the goat, I had to switch right back and be the hero," said Reese, the tournament MVP. "(Cotton) made a good shot and I knew I had to come down and make an even better shot."

    First-year coach Tevester Anderson said he was comfortable with Reese taking the last shot.

    "Aubrey's done it three or four times throughout the year. He has no conscience," Anderson said.

    It was the third straight OVC championship for the Racers (27-5), who are heading to the NCAA tournament for a third straight year. It also was their 15th straight victory over the Indians (20-9).

    Reese and Duane Virgil scored 16 points each, while teammate Isaac Spencer had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

    Southeast Missouri's Bud Eley, the OVC player of the year, had 20 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. Mike Brason had 18 points and Cotton 13.

    Both teams were sloppy at the outset. Southeast Missouri didn't score until Branson made two free throws nearly 4½ minutes into the game to pull the Indians within 7-2.

    Murray State dominated the boards during the half, outrebounding Southeast Missouri 23-9. But the Racers also were careless, turning over the ball 12 times to just six for Southeast Missouri, which led 31-29 at the break.

    The Indians opened the second half with a 9-2 run and took their largest lead, 40-31, on a dunk and free throw by Eley. Murray State chipped away and regained the lead 47-46 on a free throw by Reese.

    With the game tied at 58, Reese made a jumper with 15 seconds remaining. Cotton sank a 3-pointer from six feet behind the arc with five seconds left, setting the stage for Reese's heroics.

    "It was the kind of game that we expected," Garner said. "I thought it would be right down to the wire. We did everything I could have expected. Reese just made a big shot."

    Murray State outrebounded Southeast Missouri 47-30 and outshot the Indians 50 percent to 44 percent.

    The all-tournament team was Reese, Spencer, Virgil, Eley and Branson.

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