UDC, on the strength of five free throws in the closing seconds by Neal Robertson, defeated Elizabeth City State, 110-105, in a game with a controversial finish last night at UDC's Physical Activities Center.
Elizabeth City Coach Bobby Vaughn, who in the final minutes complained to the referees that the UDC band was playing while his players shot free throws, directed his team off the court with the scored tied at 105 with five seconds remaining. Vaughn pulled his team when he was assessed a technical foul after one of his players was called for a back court foul.
When Elizabeth City (3-4) left the court, Robertson sank five consecutive free throws (two shots for the back court foul, one technical for arguing the foul, and two more technicals for taking the team off the court).
After Elizabeth City refused to come back on the court, the referees convened and then ended the game with five seconds remaining, awarding UDC (6-5) the victory.
"The referees, what can I say about them?" said Vaughn. "They were for UDC all the way. They allowed the band to play while we shot free throws, and they made a lot of bad calls."
"What's wrong with the band playing while his players shoot free throws?" said UDC Coach Wil Jones.
After Vaughn's complaint, Jones asked the band to stop playing while Elizabeth shot free throws, but to continue when play resumed. The band followed Jones' instructions.
"He left the game because he knew they had lost," Jones said.
After 25 lead changes and 19 ties, Elizabeth City took a 101-99 lead with 2:40 remaining. But Robertson, who scored a career-high 32 points and Lyndon DeBelotte, who had 29, each hit jump shots to give UDC a 103-101 lead with 2:12 remaining.
Both teams then exchanged free throws before the last-moment confusion.