Louisiana-Lafayette wins game with six players on court
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Thursday night's Louisiana-Lafayette-Western Kentucky college basketball game ended in controversy, as the officiating crew missed a clear rule violation that could have changed the outcome.
Louisiana-Lafayette had six players on the court for the final 21 seconds of a tie game in overtime, which should have resulted in a technical foul and free throws for WKU. Instead, Elfrid Payton hit a go-ahead layup with 3.6 seconds remaining, giving ULL a 72-70 Sun Belt Conference victory.
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 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 Sun Belt Conference determines on the outcome.
Mike Wood, the Sun Belt's coordinator officials, told ESPN.com on Thursday night (click to read article & view video on ESPN) that the veteran officiating crew—Brad Gaston, Roger Ayers and Reinaldo Acosta—could be suspended for a game or more.
"There's no question there are six on the court," Wood said. "You can't get around that. We will review it and determine what we're going to do next."
Wood also said the scorekeeper should have informed officials that an extra player had checked into the game.
Wood added, however, that the error was not correctable, so no technical foul could be called on Lafayette after the game.
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 Sun Belt), who won their 12th consecutive 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
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