Louisiana basketball may have played its best game of the season in a 66-64 win over Sun Belt favorite Little Rock, but a controversial ending will overshadow the victory.
With five seconds to play the lights at the Cajundome turned off. The lights turned back on with two seconds to go as Ruot Monyyong heaved up a desperation three to win. The officials didn't blow the play dead, and conferred after for a moment before deciding to uphold their no-call, finalizing Louisiana's win. The Sun Belt has since released a statement saying that officiating crew made a mistake.
"Unfortunately, the last few seconds of the Little Rock at Louisiana men’s basketball game this evening were not managed properly by the officiating crew. Play should have been immediately stopped when an issue with the arena lighting occurred. The crew should have awarded Little Rock the ball out of bounds with five seconds on the clock to complete the last sequence. Regrettably, this did not occur. Officiating is a very difficult job, but our schools, players, coaches and fans deserve the best and we will continue to strive to meet that standard," the conference said.
It's customary for the lights to go out after Louisiana basketball games.
The incident is casting a shadow over what was once of the Cajuns best games of the season and afterwards Cajuns' coach Bob Marlin said he believed his team deserved the win.
"I thought we played better. I thought we deserved the win. We got three stops to start the game, and three stops to finish it," he said.
While Louisiana did surrender 35 combined points to Little Rock's starting bigs, Nikola Maric and Monyyong, the Cajuns kept Sun Belt player of the week Ben Coupet Jr. in check. A week after averaging 26 points-per-game, Coupet was held to five points on Friday.
Four Cajuns scored in double figures, Cedric Russell and Theo Akwuba led the team with 12. Akwuba also pulled in a game high 13 rebounds.
Little Rock and Louisiana meet Saturday at 4 p.m.
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