Trash Talking Leads to Game-Ending Scuffle

Brett Friedlander

A relatively benign basketball game between NC State and Little Rock seemed destined for a quiet finish as the Wolfpack’s Devon Daniels dribbled out the final seconds of his team’s 74-58 win at PNC Arena on Saturday.

But before the clock could count down to zero, tempers suddenly flared between Daniels and Little Rock’s Markquis Nowell.

“The little guard, he was saying a few things,” Daniels said of the 5-foot-7 Nowell. “I’m not going to say too much about it. He was saying a few things and I was just laughing at him. It happens, I guess.”

Actually, it was Daniels that initiated the incident with some trash talking.

The junior guard taunted Nowell by suggesting he was going to shoot the ball rather than running out the clock. Nowell took exception and the two had to be separated by official Tony Henderson, who indicated that the game was over despite there still being 1.3 seconds remaining. The situation appeared to escalate as the teams began going through a handshake line and officials once again intervened.

After a discussion that involved State coach Kevin Keatts at midcourt, officials Henderson, Ted Valentine and Ron Groover decided to eject Daniels and Little Rock’s Isaiah Palermo, then bring the other players back onto the court for the final 1.3 seconds.

The Wolfpack inbounded the ball without incident and the teams headed to their respective locker rooms without the usual postgame handshakes.

“I think they were going back and forth,” Keatts said of the incident. “The game was over. I got a little upset because when you’re winning the game and the game was over, just walk away. I don't know who said what to who, but the referees called it a game, and then they bought it back.”