NEW YORK Less than five seconds remained in the Charlotte 49ers’ game against Richmond in the first round of the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball tournament Thursday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Charlotte point guard Pierria Henry stood at the free-throw line and his team, trailing by three points, needed a miracle.
Charlotte would soon get one, provided by the Spiders.
As Henry made his first free throw, Richmond’s Derrick Williams tussled with Charlotte’s Willie Clayton for position and shoved Clayton to the floor. Williams was called for a technical foul, setting in motion a strange series of events that ultimately led to a 68-63 victory for the eighth-seeded 49ers (21-10) and a berth in Friday’s quarterfinal against top-seed Saint Louis (24-6).
Henry made his second free throw, then hit two more for Williams’ technical, giving Charlotte a 64-63 lead. Two seconds later, Richmond coach Chris Mooney, angered by a call against his team, was called for two more technical fouls and was ejected.
Those two technicals against Richmond’s coach – on top of the foul call – sent Henry back to the free-throw line for seven more foul shots. He made four of them.
Three technicals. Eleven free throws. Eight points. All in less than five seconds.
“You couldn’t make that up if you wanted to make a movie out of that one,” 49ers coach Alan Major said.