Even on a light sports night, there aren’t many ways a Little Rock–Louisiana basketball game can generate national buzz. Maybe an on-court fight, full-court buzzer-beater, or postgame press conference meltdown. Or a lighting mishap in the final seconds of a two-point game that could prove pivotal for the Sun Belt’s auto-bid.
Trailing Louisiana, 66–64, in the final seconds on Friday night in Lafayette, Little Rock had the ball when this happened:
If you’ve never seen a Louisiana home game, those are the Ragin Cajuns' red lights that flash after a victory. There’s no indication it was a deliberate attempt to hurt the visitors but the game wasn’t stopped when the lights came on, nor was time added after the buzzer. In fact, as Little Rock head coach Darrell Walker went ballistic, the officials didn’t discuss the play. They didn’t discuss it amongst themselves or with the coaches and/or arena staff.
“Unfortunately, the last few seconds of the Little Rock at Louisiana men's basketball game this evening were not managed properly by the officiating crew," read a statement from the Sun Belt. "Play should have been immediately stopped when an issue with the arena lighting occurred. The crew should have awarded Little Rock the ball out of bounds with five seconds on the clock to complete the last sequence. Regrettably, this did not occur.”
It wasn’t the first lighting mishap in sports history. The most well-known: Super Bowl VLXII blackout … An earthquake knocked out the power in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series … Game 4 of the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals was finished in the dark.
Boise State became the 12th college football program to hire a new coach this winter. After a reported flirtation with Kellen Moore, among others, the Broncos hired former player and assistant coach Andy Avalos, who became one of three “A” hires of this year’s carousel. With the Boise State job filled, Marshall, who parted ways with longtime coach Doc Holliday last week, is the only program without a head coach.
Notre Dame beat LSU for the services of Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who replaces Clark Lea after Lea’s departure for Vandy last month. Meanwhile, Lea’s predecessor, Derek Mason, was hired by former Boise State coach Bryan Harsin as Auburn defensive coordinator. Harsin also hired Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator. Also: A look at Jim Harbaugh’s new deal ... Notre Dame lost an assistant to Texas … Update on Steve Sarkisian’s defensive coordinator search … Maryland is firing offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery.
The NCAA’s approach to regulating student-athletes’ name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals “may raise concerns under the antitrust law,” warned the Justice Department on Friday. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert to warn of potential legal issues if the NCAA proceeds as planned on the regulation of rights as six states have passed various NIL laws.
The letter comes three weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to review a court decision involving the NCAA.
Odds & Ends
Dwayne Haskins will visit the Panthers on Monday … NFL playoff predictions and updated Super Bowl odds … Nobody lived a fuller baseball life than Tommy Lasorda … The Bills won’t wait in extending Josh Allen … Gentle reminder of NFL overtime rules in the playoffs so you don’t look like an idiot … Eric Bienemy reportedly struggled in his Falcons’ interview … Dan Mullen will interview with the Jets soon.
Auburn’s New Digs
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