SWARTHMORE, Pa. -- Johns Hopkins erased a seven-point deficit in the final 1 minute, 34 seconds of regulation last night, then advanced into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III tournament with an 82-80 overtime victory over Swarthmore.
The win gave the Blue Jays the championship of the MAC-South playoffs and the ensuing automatic NCAA bid.
It also put an end to Swarthmore's 11-game home winning streak and to the school's best season.
Andy Enfield paced Hopkins (18-9) with 28 points, including the clinching free throws with eight seconds left in overtime. Eric Hastings added 14.
Scott Gibbons led Swarthmore (17-10) with 20 and Mike Greenstone added 18.
Hopkins was down, 65-58, with 1:34 to play, then 69-65 with 20 seconds left before Enfield made two contributions to sending the game into overtime.
First, the senior guard hit a three-point jumper at 0:13 to narrow the difference to 69-68. Then, after Gibbons made just the second of two free throws at 0:09, Enfield saved the Blue Jays' season.
After a Swarthmore timeout, he pushed the ball the length of the floor, faked a possible game-winning three-pointer, then passed inside to Bill Zahn, whose layup tied the game at 70 at the horn.
Freshman guard Michael Rotay scored six points in overtime as Hopkins built a five-point lead. Enfield made both ends of a one-and-one with 0:08 left to give the Jays an 82-78 lead and, in essence, the victory. Swarthmore's Robert Ruffin scored uncontested at the horn.
"Oh, boy, it didn't come easy," said Hopkins coach Bill Nelson, "but these guys just continued to work all the way. They are going to party tonight, but I'll get back in touch with them tomorrow."
Hopkins will learn today who and where it will play in the NCAA tournament. Depending upon the selections, the Jays may play a home game Wednesday night or may not play until Saturday. There is a chance they will open Saturday at Franklin and Marshall, which Hopkins defeated, 81-78, in the opening MAC playoff game.
"All I knew tonight," Enfield said, "was that I was going to play through the final buzzer and hope for the best. Fortunately, it worked out for us."