Willis’ crucial score came with 47 seconds remaining in overtime. Evansville, with the help of two offensive rebounds, got of two more shots before Khari Harley’s steal with one second left ended the flurry and regulation.
Adam Wing opened scoring in the overtime period with a pair of free throws, followed by two layups by D.J.Balentine. The Purple Aces’ junior guard scored eight of his game-high 23 points in overtime.
Ohio (3-4) missed all nine of its shots from the field and one free throw in the extra period.
Joining Balentine in double figures for Evansville (8-2) were Egidijus Mockevicius (16 pts, 10 rebounds), Blake Simmons (14), and Adam Wing (11).
Mike Lester’s layup for Ohio with one second left gave the visiting ‘Cats a 38-36 lead in the hotly-contested game. There were 9 ties and 11 lead changes.
Ohio led by as many as six points (50-44, 14:10) in the second half, but the hosts assumed the lead with 6:47 remaining on a layup by Mockevicius and twice held six-point advantages over the remainder of regulation.
Jaylon Brown’s bucket with 1:00 left put UE up 69-66, but Willis tied the contest with a three that turned out to be Ohio’s final points of the night.
Evansville connected on 27-of-54 (50%) from the field overall and 4-of-12 (33.3%) from distance.
Ohio made 29-of-70 (41.4%) from the floor and 9-of-26 on treys (34.6%).
A big difference in the game came at the foul line. Ohio converted 2-of-3 at the stripe, while Evansville made 23-of-28.
Ohio returns to action Monday at George Washington (2:30 p.m. ET).