DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Isaac Mushila had 15 points and 12 rebounds as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held off Southeast Missouri State 75-71 on Tuesday night to earn the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went 3 of 4 at the free-throw line in the final 15 seconds to ice the game and advance to play top-seeded Alabama in the South Region.
The 16th-seeded Islanders (24-10), winners of the Southland Conference, returned to the First Four for a second straight season and led for all but 23 seconds in the opening game of this NCAA Tournament.
Southeast Missouri State (19-17) erased a 10-point deficit and tied it at 64 when Chris Harris made both free throws with 3:07 left.
Trevian Tennyson scooped in a layup off the glass to give Texas A&M-Corpus Christi a 72-69 lead with 22 seconds left, but Phillip Russell drove for a layup on the other end to bring the Redhawks within one.
Jalen Jackson made two foul shots with 14 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 74-71, and Russell came up short on a good look at a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to go.
Mushila grabbed the rebound and sank one of two free throws for the final margin.
Jackson led the Islanders with 22 points, going 14 of 18 at the free-throw line. Ross Williams added 13 points, Tennyson scored 12 and De’Lazarus Keys pulled down 10 rebounds.
Harris scored 23 points before fouling out for No. 16 seed Southeast Missouri State, the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champion. The Redhawks went 9 of 20 at the free-throw line and shot 47% from the field.
Southeast Missouri State: Foul trouble plagued the Redhawks in their second NCAA Tournament appearance. They were whistled 31 times, which helped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi go 27 of 35 at the line.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: The absence of Terrion Murdix, the team leader in assists and steals, will challenge the Islanders. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi had 14 turnovers, its most in six games.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will face No. 1 overall seed Alabama on Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama.
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