Arkansas-Little Rock head men's basketball coach Chris Beard sported a glove on his right hand during the Trojans' come-from-behind upset over Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday, and he revealed the story behind it Friday.
According to Nick Schwartz of FoxSports.com, the first-year Division I head coach told reporters that he broke his hand while trying to motivate his team during halftime of the Sun Belt title game against Louisiana Monroe:
Last Sunday in our championship game in the Sun Belt conference, we were playing against a very well-coached team, Monroe. We were not playing our best first half. We were down five at half, and I made a bad decision in the locker room just trying to get the guys a little fired up.... A dry-erase board took a bad shot. There was a chair there and I thought, briefly, about maybe using the chair but coach [Bob] Knight told me to never do that. Never use a chair in those situations.
From 2001 to 2008 Beard coached at Texas Tech under the legendary Knight, who famously threw a chair across the court during a game in 1985 while coaching at Indiana.
The injured hand certainly didn't stop Beard from guiding his team to victory over the heavily favored Boilermakers, as the 12th-seeded Trojans overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half to win 85-83 in double overtime against the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region.
With that victory, Arkansas-Little Rock improved to 30-4, which put Beard in some elite company, per the team's official Twitter account:
Beard's injury story is somewhat reminiscent of Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter, who ruptured his Achilles tendon while celebrating his team's Sun Belt conference championship last year.
Much like the Trojans, Hunter's Panthers upset Baylor in the first round of the 2015 NCAA tournament thanks to a frenetic comeback late in the game.
Georgia State bowed out in the next round to Xavier, so Beard and Co. are certainly hoping their Cinderella run lasts a bit longer.
Provided senior guard Josh Hagins comes close to replicating his 31-point performance from the first round against Iowa State on Saturday, the clock may not strike midnight quite yet for the Trojans.
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