Latest: WATCH: North Alabama’s KJ Johnson is hero after first buzzer-beater of March Madness in ASUN Tournament upset


No. 6 seed North Alabama stunned No. 3 seed Lipscomb 77-75 in the second round of the ASUN Tournament on Tuesday when KJ Johnson capped a heroic finishing stretch with a buzzer-beater against his former team. Johnson’s make came after Lipscomb’s Owen McCormack drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds left. 

Without a timeout, North Alabama had no choice but to get the ball out of the net and go. Johnson took a few dribbles at full speed and then elevated from near the 3-point line and released the ball with less than a second to spare. He crashed to the floor as time expired and the ball sank through the net. 

A quiet hush engulfed Allen Arena, but a frantic celebration ensued for the Lions, who are in just their second season of NCAA Tournament eligibility following their transition from Division II. To reach the Big Dance, North Alabama still needs two more victories. But the bracket is opening up for a potential surprise team to claim the ASUN’s automatic bid.

No. 1 seed Eastern Kentucky fell 67-65 against No. 10 seed Jacksonville in one of four ASUN Tournament games on Tuesday. No. 2 seed Stetson survived with a win over No. 8 seed Queens, but Stetson is anything but a lock to bring home the trophy after finishing the regular season with an 11-5 league mark. 

Tuesday’s game will go down as a particularly great memory for Johnson, who spent three seasons at Lispcomb before transferring to North Alabama last season. He scored just two points over the game’s first 34 minutes before scoring nine points in the final six minutes, including the all-important final at the buzzer.

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