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Anthony Chiusano | | March 5, 2017

JSU clinches first-ever NCAA tournament bid with OVC title

Jacksonville State is going dancing in the NCAA tournament for the first time in its 22 years as a Division I program.

A night after upsetting No. 1 seed Belmont, the No. 4 seed Gamecocks bookended their improbable OVC tournament run with a 66-55 victory over No. 2 seed UT Martin in the conference finals Saturday night. Jacksonville State becomes the first automatic qualifier for the 2017 NCAA tournament with the OVC title.

Senior guard Erik Durham finished with a team-high 15 points in the championship game and was joined by Greg Tucker ( 14 points) and Malcolm Drumwright (13) in double figures. 

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Saturday night's title game victory marked win No. 18 on the season for the Gamecocks, which is the second-most single season wins in the program's DI history. Jacksonville State participated in eight DII tournaments prior to its move up in 1995.

Thirty-one additional automatic qualifiers will punch tickets to the NCAA tournament via conference tournament titles decided over the next week. At-large bids will be announced on Selection Sunday along with the full 68-team bracket on March 12. The tournament then begins March 14.

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