A-B's comeback against a revamped Shepherd lineup featured three freshmen starters - Ron Fitzpatrick and Duane Harris at guard and David Thompson at forward - replacing more experienced Rams players for the second straight game.
"A number of things made me make the move," Alexander said. "We've been going through the season and have lost some games I thought we could have won if we had more effort. Tonight, even though we lost, we had as great an effort as I've seen in a long time."
Richie Sutherland and Rashad Crutchfield remained in the starting lineup, but were removed liberally throughout the game. Mike Johnson, who was the starting point guard, played in a reserve role. Shooting forward Jim Coyle never left the bench and center Chris Wilson elected to leave the team.
Shepherd (6-10, 4-6) led by 10 and trailed by as many as eight in regulation. The Rams took a 77-74 lead with 11 seconds remaining when Harris hit one of two free throws. A-B (12-4, 7-3) pushed the ball up the floor and worked to Tillman in the corner, who drained the game-tying shot.
Shepherd led 86-84 with two minutes remaining in overtime. Tillman hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to give the Battlers an 86-84 lead they were able to hold for the victory. Derek Graham missed two 3-point tries in the final 10 seconds for the Rams, including one on the buzzer.
Sean Hampton led A-B with 29 points. Harris topped five Rams scorers in double figures with 19.
"The younger kids were out there trying and producing," Alexander said. "Their defense had more intensity. Even though they lost, they played hard. I'll take effort over experience."