John Marshall (Va.) and Columbus (Fla.) lived up to the billing on Thursday at Chick-fil-A Classic.
JM used a big third-quarter run and held off a last-second 3-pointer for the 50-47 win in between nationally-ranked teams.
The Justices will play the Wheeler/Keenan for the American Bracket championship. It is John Marshall’s first title appearance and just second trip to the Chick-fil-A Classic.
Columbus will play the Wheeler/Keenan loser for third place.
Damon Thompson led JM with 15 points and freshman Latrell Almond had 12.
John Marshall trailed by 10 before going on an 18-0 run to lead 42-34 with 6:32 left. Columbus rallied and Cayden Boozer hit two free throws to get the Explorers within 48-47 with 1:47 left.
Thompson hit two free throws to make it 50-47 with 52 seconds left. The Explorers had a three-point chance on final possessions but missed as the buzzer sounded.
Cameron Boozer led Columbus with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Cayden Boozer and Malik Abdullah each had 11.