Eastern Illinois overcame a 27-point deficit on Thursday to defeat Ohio Valley Conference power Murray State 63-60 on a 3-pointer from Josiah Wallace with two seconds remaining. The junior guard led the Panthers with 20 points, all of which came in the second half as Eastern Illinois made a remarkable rally.
Murray State (19-8, 12-3 OVC) entered needing a win to stay even with Austin Peay atop the conference standings. Midway through the second half, it appeared the Racers were cruising to victory. They took a 50-23 on a Devin Gilmore lay-up with 11:45 remaining. But the Panthers outscored Murray State 40-10 the rest of the way to improve to 13-14 (6-9 OVC).
The Racers entered as projected No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament as the likely automatic qualifier from the OVC, according to CBS Bracketology expert Jerry Palm. But the loss drops the Racers to a tie for second in the league standings with Belmont and leaves Austin Peay atop the OVC standings less than two weeks remaining in the league's regular season slate.
Tevin Brown and Jaiveon led Murray State with 13 points each. George Dixon and Max Smith were the only players who had scored for Eastern Illinois at halftime as the home team fell behind 32-17. But Wallace and the Panthers flipped the script in the second half to secure one of most improbable victories of this season's OVC schedule.