Meltdown can’t truly describe what happened to Richmond at the Atlantic 10 tournament. That’s not nearly strong enough to sum up how it lost to Charlotte.
The ending was unique, to say the least. Richmond led Charlotte 63-60 at the Atlantic 10 tournament with 4.7 seconds left. In the final 4.7 seconds, Charlotte shot 11 free throws, thanks in part to three technical fouls on the Spiders, and stole a 68-63 win.
Weird doesn’t adequately cover the final five seconds either.
It started when Charlotte’s Pierria Henry went to the line for a one-and-one with his team down three points. On the block, Charlotte’s Willie Clayton got inside of Richmond’s Derrick Williams as Henry released the shot. Williams tried to ride him out of the paint, and then at the end gave him a shove. The officials maybe could have swallowed the whistle, but it was hard to ignore that. A technical was called. The funny thing was that Henry’s free throw went in, so Williams was fighting Clayton over a rebound that never happened.
Henry made his second regular free throw and both technical foul shots, giving Charlotte the lead. Not ideal for Richmond, but it still had a chance. Then Richmond coach Chris Mooney lost his mind too. After a foul on Richmond’s Greg Robbins against Henry attempting a 3-pointer, Mooney got a technical, came out onto the floor and got a second one as one of his players tried to guide him back to the bench. Mooney was ejected and Henry went back to the line for seven more free throws. He made four, putting the game away.
"I am shocked," Mooney said, according to Troy Machir of NBC's CollegeBasketballTalk.com. "I don't think we played great, but we did do some things real well. It's a pretty devastating way to lose the game.
"I was upset. Probably too upset. I can't take it back right now. I certainly wish I could."
It's not too often you’ll see a team losing by three points win the game in regulation with eight free throws in the final five seconds, and it’s also very rare to see a team come completely unglued in the final seconds like Richmond did.
“I’ve never seen an ending like that,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said to NBC Sports Network after the game. “I’m glad it went our way. You can’t make that one up.”
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