The Charlotte versus Richmond game developed much as many conference tournament games will this weekend and indeed already have this week. Richmond ripped off an early 9-0 run to go up 19-10. Charlotte fought back to pull it within three before the Spiders closed the half with five straight points to go in leading 31-23.
Charlotte got down as many as ten early in the second half before clawing back to take a 37-35 lead on the shoulder of a six-minute, 12-0 run. The game was nip and tuck from there, with neither team gaining a multi-possession lead for the next 12 minutes. It was in the end game that things went, as they say across the pond, distinctly pear-shaped.
With Charlotte down 63-60 and six seconds on the clock, Pierria Henry was on the line shooting one-and-one courtesy of Richmond choosing to foul rather than risk a three-point attempt. Knowing that, even if the first fell, the rebound for the second was going to be basketball gold, both sets of rebounders were going at it hammer and tongs under the basket.
In the scramble for position on the first free throw - which did go in - Richmond's Derrick Williams and Charlotte's Willie Clayton became entangled. In the ensuing struggle, Williams was adjudged to have treated Clayton poorly enough that a technical foul was in order. Suddenly, Henry needed only to make 2 of 3 FT than to miss the second and hope for the best. Even when Henry hit all three, Richmond's situation was unfortunate, but certainly not untenable.
At least it was, until Richmond coach Chris Mooney completely lost his garbage. On the ensuing inbounds play, Richmond had to foul Henry to have a chance to get the ball back. Henry, being the savvy cat that he is, shot from half court as soon as someone got close to him. The refs gave Henry three free throws, and Mooney, for lack of a better term, simply threw a fit.
When the dust settled, the officials had to award him not one but two technical fouls and have him escorted from the court. Henry now had 7 more FT to shoot, and he jarred 4 of them, turning a dodgy situation into a comfortable win for Charlotte. This game will go down as a footnote in basketball history to most of us; Richmond's players will remember it as the time their coach bizarrely lost them a game.
Update: Was the first offense a tech? You decide: check the video below.