Alas, the inexperience of youth.

But it can be overcome, as the University of the District of Columbia showed last night with a 70-68 victory over Cheyney University in the Firebirds' last game of the season at the Physical Activities Center.

UDC (10-15), which ended a three-game losing streak, was led by Lyndon DeBellotte's 21 points. Jerry Wilson had 16 points and Ed Farmer 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Firebirds. The Wolves (15-8), who have not defeated UDC in five games, were led by Wilbert Jones with 22 points.

Freshman center Charles Cook took an offensive rebound on Fred Sanford's free throw and scored the basket that gave UDC the lead for good, 66-64, with 2:53 left in the game. DeBellotte scored two free throws and Wilson a field goal to put the Firebirds up, 70-64, with 54 seconds left, but the game was far from over.

"We do things to ourselves," moaned UDC Coach Wil Jones. "Jerry (Wilson) should never have taken that last shot. He should have knocked it (the ball) out and tried to run some time off and maybe get a free throw."

Randy Monroe's field goal for Cheyney cut the lead to 70-66. After Farmer missed the front end of a one-and-one, Jones made a jumper from the top of the key with 26 seconds left for the game's final points.

DeBellotte missed the front end of another one-and-one with 23 seconds left to give the Wolves a chance to tie. But Bryon Joyner's jumper was rebounded by DeBellotte with two seconds to play.

The Firebirds trailed by 52-42 with 14:25 remaining before switching to a top-trap defense that propelled them on a 15-3 tear for a 57-55 lead with 8:02 to play. DeBellotte scored six of the points, Farmer five and Wilson four in the run.

"We went to a top trap because their shooters aren't good ballhandlers, so I wanted them to make the pass and play a little faster," said Jones, who has never lost this many games in a season before and fields a team that features six freshmen and three sophomores.

"We were down 10 points and they (Cheyney) did nothing to earn that lead," Jones said. "We did it to ourselves. We're killing ourselves, but that's what youth will do. They're going to be back for many a year, but that has nothing to do with now."