Kissimmee, Fla. – It has been six years since Lynn University's men's basketball team last won a Sunshine State Conference Championship game, so what was five more minutes. Russell Wilson missed on a layup in regulation but converted on a layup with 0.2 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Fighting Knights an 84-83 victory over Florida Tech. Lynn improves to 19-8 overall.
Ironically enough, the Fighting Knights last victory in the SSC Tournament came against Florida Tech, a 106-104 double-overtime affair in Melbourne, Fla. Chris Hall scored a then program-best 42 points to knock off the Panthers.
The game looked as though it would end in regulation as the Blue & White held a 73-67 lead with 2:24 to play. Lynn had gone on an 11-0 run late in the game, keyed by seven of Ben Berry's team-high 21 points, to overcome a five-point deficit. But the Panthers (16-13) scored the final six points of the half, including a layup by Chris Carter with 30 seconds on the game clock to even the match.
Wilson had the opportunity to end the game with a layup but watched as the ball rimmed out. Momentum swung back in Lynn's favor in overtime as a layup from Cory Thomas and consecutive threes by Berry and Aaron Harrison put Lynn ahead 81-77 with 2:34 on the clock. The back-and-forth affair came to a head with 1:30 to play as Jermain Jackson converted on two free-throws to give FIT a one-point lead.
Strong defense has long been a staple of the 2014-15 Fighting Knights squad and the team did just that in the waning moments of overtime. David Anderson blocked Isaac Spence's layup to set up Wilson's heroics. As time was ticking off the clock, the junior transfer drove left, spun right and scored the winning basket with 0.2 seconds. Florida Tech's last-ditch Hail Mary was knocked down by Anderson to give Lynn its first conference tournament win since the 2007-08 season.
Lynn started off the game strong behind three-points by Berry and Fred Landers. A layup from Wilson before the media timeout brought the score to 15-9 and put FIT on its heels. The Fighting Knights led by as many as nine, 30-21, but maintained a five-point advantage for much of the first half.
Fouls and foul trouble, though, nearly doomed the Blue & White. The Panthers made 32-of-43 attempts at the free throw line (77.4 percent) and was 19-of-25 in the opening half. Lynn's hot hand went cold at the end of the period and Florida Tech hit on five shots at the charity stripe to grab a 35-34 lead at the break.
Landers, Wilson and Aaron Harrison all played the second half in foul trouble, with each collecting their fourth fouls with under 10 minutes to play. Landers finished with 15 points and a team-best nine rebounds and was joined in double-digit scoring by Johnson (13 points) and Harrison (11 points). Wilson finished with six points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The Fighting Knights move on to the semifinals of the SSC Championship where they will face top-seeded Florida Southern at 5:00 p.m. at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla. Fans can watch the action by logging on to LynnFightingKnights.com and receive in-game updates by following @Lynn_Knights on Twitter and Instagram.