Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Eastern Illinois men's basketball team staged a 27-point comeback before winning with a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer in a dramatic game against Murray State.
Eastern Illinois pulled off the thrilling 63-60 triumph Thursday at Lantz Arena in Charleston, Ill. The Panthers trailed 50-23 with 11:45 remaining before storming back for the victory.
Eastern Illinois' comeback is the largest since Drexel staged a 34-point comeback against Delaware in 2018, setting the Division I men's college basketball record. Eastern Illinois is the seventh team in Division I history to win a game after trailing by at least 27 points in the second half. The Panthers had the least amount of time remaining in their game out of those seven teams.
Junior guard Josiah Wallace hit the final shot to lead the Panthers to the win. Panthers guard Shareef Smith caught an inbound pass with about six seconds remaining before dribbling up the court during the sequence. Smith crossed half court before handing the ball off to Wallace while about 25 feet away from the basket. Wallace bounced the ball once before throwing up a deep jump shot. He drained the long-range attempt with less than a second remaining on the clock.
The Panthers had a second-half run of 8-2 before staging two 9-0 runs down the stretch to cut the Racers' lead to six points. Wallace was fouled after making a layup and made the resulting free throw before Kashawn Charles tied the game with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining.
Eastern Illinois' George Dixon stole the ball from Murray State to setup Charles' game-tying shot. Jordan Skipper-Brown and Mack Smith blocked the Racers' Tevin Brown twice in the final seconds before Wallace sank the game winner.
Wallace scored a game-high 20 points for the Panthers. Dixon had 16 points, and Charles had 13 points in the win. Brown and Jaiveon Eaves each scored 13 points for the Racers.
Murray State (19-8) faces Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 3 p.m. EST Saturday at the Sam M. Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill. Eastern Illinois (13-14) battles Austin Peay at 4:15 p.m. EST Saturday at Lantz Arena.