NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Dontaye Draper scored had a career-high 38 points, including eight in overtime, to lead College of Charleston and first-year coach Bobby Cremins into the Southern Conference tournament final, beating Appalachian State 89-87 Friday night.
Draper had two of his eight 3-pointers in the extra period to send the Cougars (22-10) into the championship game for the first time since 2000.
The Cougars will take on top-seeded Davidson, which defeated Furman 91-68 in an earlier semifinal.
Appalachian State (25-7) had a chance to win in regulation, trailing 73-72 with Donte Minter at the foul line with 2.2 seconds remaining. But Minter's second attempt bounced off the rim, sending the game into overtime, where Draper took over.
He had a 3-pointer and two foul shots to put the Cougars up 80-76. When the Mountaineers ahead 81-80 after Jeremy Clayton's tip in, Draper drilled his final 3 to put Charleston ahead to stay.
When Josh Johnson jammed home the Cougars final basket in the closing seconds, Cremins threw his arms in the air, turned to the large Charleston crowd and leaped in the air in celebration.
Draper didn't only excel on offense. He helped hold Mountaineers all-conference guard D.J. Thompson to 2-of-16 shooting. Both of Thompson's field goals came in overtime, the last a long 3 as time ran out.
The Cougars and Mountaineers both blew chances to win in regulation.
Draper hit two free throws and David Lawrence added another foul shot to give the College of Charleston a 71-67 lead with 43.8 seconds to go.
Trailing 71-69 moments later, Appalachian State got the ball back when Marcus Hammond got called for an offensive foul on the inbounds play. Clayton tied things with his inside bucket with 23.7 seconds remaining.
Moments later, Minter couldn't convert his potential game-winning free throw.
Appalachian State led 35-34 at half despite lead 5-of-18 shooting from the Mountaineers' starters. But 6-foot-8 reserve Donte Minter sparked them with 12 points.
Minter's last basket of the half put the Mountaineers ahead 25-17 with 7:24 left. Then Draper sparked College of Charleston's 15-8 run over the next six minutes to close the gap.
Appalachian State now has to cross its fingers and see if its record-setting 25-win season -- including victories over Vanderbilt and Villanova -- is enough to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee.