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March 18, 2014

WALLACE STATE HOOPS: Lions win NJCAA tourney opener with 2OT thriller over Westchester (N.Y.)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Jestin Lewis didn’t want his final memory in a Wallace State uniform to be a missed free throw in the closing seconds of double overtime Monday night at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament.

With an assist and keen awareness from teammate Lee Moore, Lewis made sure he didn't have to worry about that. Lewis extended the Lions’ season with one of the biggest layups in the program’s history by scoring the winning bucket with 0.8 seconds left to secure a thrilling and draining 101-99 double overtime victory over Westchester (N.Y) Community College at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

As it did at the end of regulation and the first overtime, Westchester had a chance to win the game on its final possession of the second extra period. Wallace State, which overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half, had other plans. Westchester’s Giovanni McLean lost the ball in traffic, Moore corralled it for the Lions, threw it over his head and Lewis scooped it up on the other end and converted the layup, sending the 15th-seeded Lions to a second-round game against No. 2 Vincennes (Ind.) on Wednesday at noon.

“If we had lost that game after I missed those free throws, I would have been heartbroken. It would have taken me a long time to get over,” Lewis said. “We stuck together and made another play when we had to. We had to stick together the entire game and fight through some tough moments.”

Lewis and Moore each finished with 28 points for the Lions, both nailing four 3-pointers apiece.

Lewis flirted with a triple-double, also finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists. Meanwhile, Moore, who played only five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, poured on 26 of his 28 points after intermission.

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