BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- In perhaps the most bizarre finish in the history of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, a complete mental collapse allowed Charlotte to defeat Richmond, 68-63, in first-round action Thursday afternoon.
The 49ers trailed, 63-60, with the ball and 10 seconds to play when Richmond elected to foul. With 4.7 seconds left on the clock, Charlotte's Pierria Henry made the front end of a one-and-one. On the ensuing rebound attempt, Richmond's Derrick Williams was hit with a technical foul for unnecessarily shoving an opposing player. Pierria, who finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, made his second free throw, then two more on the technical to give Charlotte the lead.
When the 49ers inbounded the ball following Pierria's makes, Richmond quickly fouled. Once the whistle was blown, the Spiders' bench was hit with two more technicals, head coach Chris Mooney was ejected and the 49ers added to their advantage and put the game out of reach.
Despite the absurd ending, Richmond controlled the game early, extending its lead to as many as nine midway through the first half. The Spiders took a 31-23 lead into the locker room, but Charlotte used a 10-0 run early in the second half to grab its first advantage. Chris Braswell had six of those points and assisted on another basket to fuel the 49ers' surge.
The 49ers made their comeback by getting the ball inside, and they continued to do so as the game went back-and-forth in the final minutes. Easy layups and second attempts contributed to their 43.4 field goal percentage for the game.
Richmond was forced to find other ways to stay in it, even when the team in green had the momentum. Cedrick Lindsay had 19 points, and Williams added another 13 to help the Spiders eventually regain the lead.
In the final minute, Richmond held a three-point lead multiple times, only to give up layups, then have to make free throws.
Neither team is in the discussion for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, so both needed a win to keep their dancing hopes alive. It will get much tougher for Charlotte on Friday, however, when the 49ers take on conference regular season champion and tournament No. 1 seed Saint Louis at noon.
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