Dayton, OH (Sports Network) - Matt Dickey sent the game to overtime with a three-pointer and J.P. Primm won it at the free throw line, as UNC-Asheville came back and beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 81-77, in the first game of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
As many contests in March Madness are wont to do, this one came down to the wire.
Both Dickey and Primm scored 22 points for UNC-Asheville (20-13), and no shot was bigger than Dickey's step-back three from the left corner that tied the game, 72-72, with 10 seconds left in regulation at University of Dayton Arena.
Matt Mouzy's errant three-pointer off the back iron resulted in an extra five minutes, and the Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as 10 in the second half, held a 79-77 lead after Primm made 1-of-2 from the line with 51 seconds left.
Primm picked off Daylon Gay's soft pass along the right wing, then sealed the Big South champions' second-ever tourney win and a date with No. 1 seed Pittsburgh on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The first-ever meeting between the programs was part of the new format for this year's NCAA Tournament, which now boasts 68 teams and starts with the "First Four" games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The opening game was played to decide the No. 16 seed in the Southeast Region.
Alex Garcia-Mendoza scored 21 points to lead Arkansas-Little Rock (19-17), while Solomon Bozeman, who made a late three-pointer to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title for the Trojans, scored 18 points before fouling out with a minute left in regulation.