The Atlantic 10 Tournament got off to a very rocky start last night as questionable technical foul calls in the final seconds decided the game.
Leading 63-60 with just seconds remaining, Richmond fouled Charlotte guard Pierria Henry to prevent Charlotte from tying the game with a three-pointer.
As the first free throw went through the net, Richmond’s Derrick Williams and Charlotte’s Willie Clayton got physical while positioning for a potential rebound. After Clayton put his around arm around Williams’ head, Richmond’s Williams shoved Clayton to the ground.
The officials made an over-sensitive call, particularly for that point in the game, and whistled Williams for a technical foul. Charlotte was awarded two more foul shots even though Clayton appeared to initiate excessive contact.
With one more free throw for the initial foul, plus two more for the technical called on Williams, Charlotte was able to take a 64-63 lead.
Charlotte was awarded possession of the ball since the latest foul on Richmond had been a technical during a dead ball. Henry, the shooter for all four free throws, received the inbound pass and, knowing he was about to be intentionally fouled, chucked the ball towards the rim as if shooting, attempting to draw a three-shot foul.
The refs complied. Three more foul shots for Richmond.
Incensed at the turn of events, Richmond head coach Chris Mooney argued the calls and, following trend, was given two technical fouls and was ejected. Four more free throws for Charlotte.
Henry would go on to make four of the seven new foul shots, giving Charlotte their permanent 68-63 lead with 2.8 seconds left.
With the late foul shots, the winner of the game and total points scored were both drastically altered. Charlotte was essentially handed the victory while the free throws ran the combined points score up to 131, conveniently settling just above the 130.5 point over-under spread.
After the game, Charlotte head coach Alan Major said “You couldn’t make that up if you wanted to make a movie out of that one.”