Louisiana-Lafayette edges W Kentucky 72-70 in OT

The Associated Press
Louisiana-Lafayette edges W Kentucky 72-70 in OT
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Louisiana-Lafayette center Kadeem Coleby (23) drives to the basket with Western Kentucky guard Derrick Gordon (5), forward Nigel Snipes (21) and guard T.J. Price (52) defending during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, in Bowling Green, Ky. (AP Photo/Daily News, Joe Imel)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) Elfrid Payton's layup with 3 seconds remaining in overtime lifted Louisiana-Lafayette to a 72-70 Sun Belt Conference victory over Western Kentucky on Thursday night.

The game ended in controversy as six Ragin' Cajuns players appeared to be on the court for the winning play. A Hilltoppers' halfcourt attempt hit the backboard as time expired.

After the buzzer, a Western Kentucky coach immediately approached the referee, who huddled with other game officials. They let the play stand and left the court, according to Michael Schroeder, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications/Media Relations for Western Kentucky.

The Hilltoppers had filed no protest Thursday night but are ''going to take a little time and look it over on our end,'' Schroeder said.

He added that Western Kentucky was still caught up in the ''emotion of the moment'' and will also wait to see what the conference determines on the outcome.

Video of the play in question shows 11 players on the court, six in the red Louisiana-Lafayette jerseys.

Payton's game-winner came after Derrick Gordon tied the game at 70 with a 3 with 25 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, Payton was able to drive the lane and connect.

J.J. Thomas scored 19 points and Raymone Andrews 16 for the Ragin' Cajuns (8-8, 2-0), who won their 12th straight regular-season conference game.

The Hilltoppers (5-11, 1-2), who beat Louisiana-Lafayette in the second round of the conference tournament last season, held the Ragin' Cajuns to one field goal in the final 4:40 of regulation and scored nine unanswered points to come back from a 59-53 deficit to lead 62-59.

Louisiana-Lafayette forced overtime with a Kadeem Coleby stuff and a free throw with 6 seconds left by Payton.

The Ragin' Cajuns led 68-67 with 1:31 to go in overtime after a steal and layup by Payton, but Derrick Gordon, who scored 20 points for the Hilltoppers, hit a tying 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.