- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) - With a flurry of steals and layups, Virginia Commonwealth was firmly in control, seemingly headed to another opening-round victory in the NCAA tournament.

A few mistakes down the stretch gave Stephen F. Austin a chance.

The Lumberjacks ran with it in dramatic fashion, sending the Rams home with a had-it-in-our-hands loss.

JeQuan Lewis fouled Desmond Haymon to set up a four-point play with 3.6 seconds left in regulation and then missed an open 3-pointer at the end of overtime, sending VCU home from the NCAA tournament after a 77-75 loss Friday night.

“I like the way we battled the majority of the second half, but we just didn’t finish the game,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “We kind of gave them a glimmer of hope.”

It’s been a wild ride in the NCAA tournament already, a two-day run filled with upsets, buzzer-beaters and millions of crumpled brackets across the country. SFA’s victory marked the fifth overtime game during the round of 64, a tournament record.

SFA didn’t have the biggest upset of the opening two rounds - Mercer probably gets the nod there with its win over Duke - but the Lumberjacks certainly had the most jaw-dropping finish.

Here’s how it went down:

The South Region’s No. 5 seed, VCU (23-10) was comfortably in charge after its swarming defense flustered SFA during a big second-half run.

The scrappy Lumberjacks (32-2) kept hanging around and clawed their way back in the closing seconds.

Two missed free throws by VCU’s Jordan Burgess with 10 seconds left gave 12th-seeded SFA a chance.

The Lumberjacks got the ball to the wing, where Haymon launched a 3-pointer and was fouled by Lewis just before the ball fell through the basket.

“I just tried to get out and contest it,” Lewis said. “(I) jumped to the side a little bit and kind of fell into him. The ref called a foul.”

Haymon still had some work to do, though.

The crowd still buzzing, Smart called a timeout, trying to ice Haymon. The senior didn’t seem to mind, returning to the court to calmly knock down the free throw.

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