The Richmond Spiders (18-14) had the biggest meltdown of this college basketball season when they lost 68-63 yesterday afternoon to the Charlotte 49ers (21-10) in the first round of the Reese's Atlantic 10 Tournament sponsored by Buick at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Richmond was ahead 63-60 with 4.7 seconds to go. Everything appeared like the Spiders were about to win the game. Richmond fouled Pierria Henry before he was able to attempt a 3-pointer to tie the game.
This act of fouling is always talked about by analysts as the right thing to do. However, in the final seconds of the game, the defense doesn't foul. This foul showed that Richmond is a very disciplined basketball team.
Then, the meltdown began. Henry made the first basket of the 1 and 1 to make the score 63-61 Richmond. While he was shooting the free throw, Charlotte's Willie Clayton and Richmond's(not the T-Wolves player) became tangled up on the box out. Williams then threw Clayton down to the ground.
The referee called a technical foul on Williams. Henry then shot the two technical foul free throws along with the final free throw to put Charlotte ahead 64-63. Richmond coach Chris Mooney was livid. He had a right to be because the ref should have called a flagrant foul instead of a technical, which would have meant that Clayton would have been the one to shoot the two free throws instead of Henry.
That mistake was important because Henry is a little over 70% on his free throws while Clayton is at 50%. Going strictly on percentages of the free throws. Clayton would have missed one and the game would have been tied. Nevertheless, Charlotte was up by one with the ball with 4.7 seconds still remaining.
The 49ers handed the ball into Perry who was fouled with 2.8 seconds left. As Perry was fouled in the backcourt, he heaved the ball towards the basket. In late-game situations like these, the ref usually calls for a one-and-one which was clearly the case here.
However, the refs messed up again and called it a shooting foul, which gave Perry three free throws. Coach Mooney went off on the refs, which he had a right to do because they just messed up two calls in less than five minutes. Mooney received two technicals and was ejected from the game. Perry made four of the seven remaining free throws to make it a 68-63 Charlotte victory.
This win puts Charlotte up against St. Louis today. The 49ers are still alive for an NCAA bid if they win the A10 Tournament and are still alive for an NIT bid if they defeat the Billikens today.
Opinion: Referees need to consult with one another and make the right call instead of being stubborn and sticking with the wrong call. The crazy part about Williams throwing Clayton down was that Williams is from Harlem. His hometown game became a nightmare. I hope that he will be able to move on with his life without being scarred by this event. Matter of fact, the entire Spiders team needs to look forward as they could possibly receive a CBI bid or a CIT bid next week.