Who knew a Division II college basketball game between Winston-Salem State and Johnson C. Smith would make national headlines Wednesday? That tends to happen when two teams finish tied and don't carry on to decide a winner.
But the game was interrupted in Charlotte, N.C., for good reason. According to Sporting News' Troy Machir, Johnson C. Smith's Joshua Linson flung a full-court heave to try to win the game as the second-half buzzer sounded.
The shot hit a light fixture high above in Brayboy Gymnasium, leaving it dangling and looming as a potential safety hazard.
Both athletic departments confirmed the draw on Twitter, with the hosting JCSU's feed being a bit more enthusiastic about the ordeal:
Men's Basketball: Winston-Salem 76, Johnson C. Smith 76 (Final)— WSSU Athletics (@WSSU_Athletics) February 20, 2014
I REPEAT THE CIAA OFFICIALS HAVE DECLARED THIS MATCH-UP AGAINST @WSSU_Athletics TONIGHT A DRAW!!!!— JCSU Athletics (@JCSU_Sports) February 20, 2014
Instead of just leaving the score knotted at 76 for good, though, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association has decided to go by the rulebook. After meeting with school officials and others, it's been determined that the two teams will resume play from the end of regulation on Friday afternoon.
News of that development came in a Thursday press release on the CIAA's official website, which described the ruling regarding this unique outcome:
The 2014 & 2015 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL RULE 5, Section 4, reads: Section 4. Interrupted Game...When a game is interrupted because of events beyond the control of the responsible administrative authorities, it shall be continued from the point of interruption unless the teams agree otherwise or there are applicable conference, league or association rules.
John Dell of the Winston-Salem Journal was on the scene to capture the incident, and he noted the obstacle was indeed too dangerous for the two teams to keep playing.
Broken light at Brayboy pic.twitter.com/O4hSWzeBYL— John Dell (@johndellWSJ) February 20, 2014
I'm sitting 30 feet away from light that is dangling by a wire.I'm here to tell you it's a dangerous thing. It could have fallen during play— John Dell (@johndellWSJ) February 20, 2014
According to Dell, Linson had scored 25 points in the contest before his last-ditch attempt at a miracle victory wound up ending the game entirely:
The kid who hit the light with a long baseball throw, Joshua Linson, was 9 of 13 shooting and had scored 25 points...— John Dell (@johndellWSJ) February 20, 2014
Dell documented what WSSU's Quinton Alton had to say about the strange circumstances:
Here is what Quinton Alton of WSSU said: “I guess they were scared that we would have beaten them in overtime. That's life in the CIAA."— John Dell (@johndellWSJ) February 20, 2014
The apparent ending was truly bizarre, though few witnessed it firsthand.
What will be interesting is to see who wins when play resumes, where the two teams went to a nearby court or made up the overtime period on a different day.
Instead of the result adding a rare third column to the standings for two teams in the CIAA, the decision has been made to decide a winner after all.