As the final buzzer rang, Southern point guard Eddie Reese went tumbling down the F.G. Clark Activity Center floor and dismounted a celebratory sequence of flips with a backflip.
Reese knocked in two of three free throws with .06 seconds remaining in the game to boost No. 4 seeded Southern to a 62-60 win over No. 5 Jackson State in the opening round of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.
"That's digging one out right there," said Southern coach Morris Scott. "I'll take this one."
"I just hated it had to end that way," said Jackson State redshirt senior forward Treshawn Bolden. "It is what it is."
Since it's win or have your season ended, Reese gave Southern a second wind for the season under coach Scott.
A natural and expected grace period was given to Southern for this season, one which allowed the Jaguars time to shift into a new regime. Southern did that with grace and ease.
As best exemplified from Feb. 5 until Feb. 23, the Jaguars even compiled a five-game winning streak in the thick of the SWAC playoff race.
Three consecutive losses to end the regular season bumped Southern to fourth place in the quarterfinals.
Southern will advance to meet No. 1 Arkansas-Pine Bluff — which defeated No. 8 Mississippi Valley State 77-73 on Tuesday — at 2:30 p.m. in Friday’s semifinal at Delmar Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas.
The winner of Southern-Arkansas-Pine Bluff will then move onto the tournament championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.
“It's great for these guys to advance," Scott said.
Southern and Jackson State, which split the season series 1-1 by trading road wins, kept Tuesday’s pace controlled and steady.
A box score would prove mirroring styles called for mirroring statistics.
Southern made 20 buckets; Jackson State made 23. The Jaguars hit four 3-pointers; the Tigers knocked in three. Southern had 34 total rebounds; Jackson State had 35.
Reese 21 points in 38 minutes were Southern's most. Senior forward Jared Sam added 12 points in his final home game of a four-year career.
Southern uncorked a 12-0 run from 12:11 in the second half that brought the Jaguars within a single possession of Jackson State, which held a lead for more than half of the game.
Knotted at 60-60 with 22.6 seconds remaining, Jackson State attempted to hold the ball for a final shot. It missed.
"The last 40 seconds, we just didn't play well," said Jackson State coach Wayne Brent.
Pushing the opposite rim, Reese was fouled while launching a running 3-ball with 0.06 remaining and rattled in the pair of winning free throws.