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March 15, 2013It took eight free throws from Pierria Henry and three Richmond technical fouls for the Charlotte 49ers to pick up their first Atlantic 10 Tournament victory in five years.
It was one of the oddest game endings in college basketball this year and perhaps over the last 20 years.
Numerous media outlets discussed the outcome of the game and most of them believe that the Richmond Spiders got the shaft on how the officials made the calls.
I'm willing to bet 99.9 percent of those media outlets and Internet blogs saying that Richmond got the shaft only watched the last 4.7 seconds of that game. I'm willing to bet that they did not watch the previous 55 minutes and 55.3 seconds where four 49er players had fouled out.
I'm sure those same folks saying Richmond got the shaft failed to realize that the 49ers never even entered the single bonus until there were 2 minutes 7 seconds remaining in the game.
If they watched the whole game, perhaps they would realize that the 49ers outrebounded the Spiders 43-22, scored 21 second chance points and outscored them in the paint 44-16. Maybe they would have realized the the Spiders big men couldn't contain a freshman post player by the name of Willie Clayton.
I'm not trying to be a homer in this case, but it is maddening to see so many folks concentrate on that last part of the game. Did it decide the outcome? You bet, which is why it is receiving so much attention and I realize that.
But, unlike the last time, the Spiders could never put away the 49ers as they battled back each time the Spiders hit them with a left hook.
After falling behind 8-2 and allowing Cedrick Lindsay to go in for an uncontested layup, Alan Major called a 30 second timeout. It was still quiet in the Barclays Center and Major was yelling extremely loud at his team in the huddle.
Major is usually calm and reserved because he wants his team to be that way on the court, but he lit into them and the 49ers answered.
The 49ers big men dominated - Clayton and Chris Braswell - dominated the paint all day and Derrick Williams threw Clayton down out of frustration at that point because Clayton was gaining position again.
The Spiders are a team with an excellent tenured head coach in Chris Mooney who has won games in the NCAA Tournament with senior leadership. The fact of the matter is that they couldn't maintain their poise while the young 49ers did.
There have been so many times during the course of the season that once things got bad, the 49ers would let it to continue to get worse. In the last three games they have found a way to not only stop the bleeding, but to keep playing to what they do best.
They've hit one 3-pointer in the last two games and that game on the very last play against Saint Joeseph's. Against Richmond, the 49ers only took five attempts from beyond the arc while pounding the paint where they had a distinct advantage.
And speaking of 3-pointers, why isn't anyone questioning Mooney's decision to foul? The 49ers are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country and didn't hit a shot from distance all day. They've made one 3-pointer in the last 80 minutes of play.
The 49ers are now 15-0 when holding an opponent to under 40 percent shooting, which they did held the Spiders to 37.8.
They've gotten back to their bread and butter of pounding the paint, getting to the free throw line and defending over the last two and a half games.
They continued to extend the game against the Spiders and wouldn't quit. They maintained their poise while the Spiders did not.
While everybody else focuses on the final 4.7 seconds of the game, the 49ers know that the game is 60 minutes and played a full game. The Spiders did not.
That's the story. The end.