Playing under a cloud of possibly having to forfeit 11 games and a chance at an NCAA Division II playoff berth, the University of the District of Columbia lost its patience and poise in the last eight minutes of its game last night and was beaten by Virginia Union, 82-64, before 2,749 at the UDC Physical Activities Center.
UDC will point to one six-minute stretch of the game when it was blitzed, 15-0. Trailing, 62-60, with about eight minutes to play, the Panthers held the hosts scoreless for 11 consecutive possessions to take a 77-60 lead with less than three minutes remaining.
"We played a bad half. We were not patient and didn't make the shots when we had them," said UDC Coach Wil Jones. "Hey, but Union played very well."
The 18-point loss, one of the Firebirds' worst here, also ended a 19-game home winning streak and dropped the hosts to 19-4.
The Firebirds, a bit upset after being left out of the recent Division II national poll despite wins over fourth-ranked North Carolina Central (ranked first when it was beaten here last week by UDC, 84-74) and at 18th-ranked Norfolk State (85-84), had hoped to gain extra momentum with a win over Union, ranked sixth with an 18-3 mark before the game.
UDC played without 6-7 forward Terrance Ball but Jones said his absence (being held out while the NCAA looks into his eligibility) had little if any effect on his team's play.
"I don't think his not being here mattered. We did some dumb things out there and got beat," Jones said. "We played well in spots and got the shots we wanted. The ball just didn't go in the basket."