RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Laimis Kisielius hit a short jumper with 3 seconds remaining Sunday as William & Mary stunned top-seeded Virginia Commonwealth 56-54 for its third straight dramatic victory in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
The Tribe (17-15) advanced to the championship game of the CAA for the first time in its history. It also will be seeking its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
The Tribe, which beat Georgia State on a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to play in the first round and Old Dominion on another 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds to go, last won three postseason games on a neutral court in the 1965 Southern Conference tournament.
William & Mary head coach Tony Shaver, the CAA coach of the year, said "The neat part for me is it's been three different guys" who've been the hero of the team's recent victories.
The top-seeded Rams (24-7) saw their 12-game winning streak against the Tribe come to an end, a loss that leaves coach Anthony Grant's team with a week to hope the NCAA tournament selection committee thinks it deserves an at-large bid next Sunday.
VCU led 28-22 at halftime, but the Tribe showed no signs of fatigue despite playing for the third time in as many days. William & Mary used a 15-4 run to lead 37-32 with 12:39 left, before the Rams' 11-2 burst gave them a 43-39 edge.
William & Mary scored the next 12 points, getting six from Kisielius and six from Danny Sumner, to take its biggest lead of the game at 51-43 with 6:44 remaining.
The Rams responded with an 8-0 run, tying it at 51 on a 3-pointer by Eric Maynor with 3:27 remaining. Kisielius then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 49.4 seconds left, and the Rams' Jamal Shuler answered with one with 38.8 seconds left.
After the Tribe let most of the shot clock run down, Kisielius hit his jumper with 3 seconds to play, and Brandon Rozzell missed a 3-pointer for VCU at the buzzer.
Kisielius scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, and Sumner finished with 19, 13 after the intermission. The rest of the team totaled just 14 points.
Maynor scored 16 for the Rams, and Shuler had 13.
"We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half and gave them momentum," Grant said. "Our guys fought and showed great heart and showed a will to win. Before the game, a team like William & Mary was very dangerous -- they had nothing to lose and everything to gain and they played like that the entire game."
Shaver said while fatigue may be a problem for him, it's not an issue for his players.
"They are young and energetic," he said. "When you get the championship of a tournament -- one we have so much respect for -- adrenaline should carry us. You won't hear us mention being tired."