On paper, the UTPA men’s basketball team lost 75-73 in overtime at New Orleans on Wednesday night.
In reality, it was much more complicated than that.
“It’s an odd and unfortunate set of circumstances,” Broncs coach Ryan Marks said. “It had been a very well-played game.”
After Brandon Provost hit a 3 to put UTPA up 67-65 with 3.8 seconds left in regulation, New Orleans went coast-to-coast and had the ball bounce out of bounds with no time on the clock.
The Broncs rushed the floor, thinking they’d won. The referees, though, without giving an explanation to Marks, said there should be 0.1 left. Marks said there was no video replay monitor at the arena and wasn’t sure how the refs came up with that.
After a pair of timeouts, the Privateers threw a lob that, Marks said, was wildly inaccurate. It was tipped away by Lauri Toivonen and the game was over. But it wasn’t.
A foul was called on Shaquille Hines. The officials said he held Kevin Hill, who was going up for the lob, before the ball was tipped by Toivonen. Marks said the tape, which he watched after the game, clearly showed the ball was tipped before the foul was called.
Hill sunk both free throws, and the Broncs went on to lose in OT.
“It’s the most despondent I’ve ever been in my coaching career,” Marks said.
The loss dropped UTPA to 12-12. They’ll face New Orleans again Mar. 3 at home, clearly with revenge on their minds.
“I’m sure that our guys will be excited to have another opportunity because of the bad taste in our mouths after the game ended,” Marks said.
Beyond the final score, there was some good and bad to the Broncs’ performance.
Jesus Delgado, who dropped 14 points in 29 minutes, got to the free-throw line 12 times. He hit 10 of those shots.
“He played an outstanding second half,” Marks said. “There were a variety of things that got him there (to the line) and he did a great job.”
Hines, despite the controversial tenth of a second, had one of his better games of late, getting a 20-minute run while scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
“He played really well, overall he played a good game, but he was very energized in the first half,” Marks said. “New Orleans is a team that has a lot of speed and quickness, and for us, he’s a guy that can match that.”
Conversely, the Broncs let the Privateers shoot 63 percent from the field in the second half and 53 percent for the game. Some of that, Marks said, was due to them just being on fire.
The rest wasn’t particularly good defense.
“They shot the ball really well, but we gave them a few too many easy ones,” the fourth-year coached explained. “It’s those easy ones that we kind of gave them from time to time that enabled that.”
The Western Athletic Conference, which the Broncs will join in July, announced that Missouri-Kansas City accepted an invitation to join the conference Thursday.
The Kangaroos, formally of the Summit League, will be the ninth team set for the 2013-14 season. Because of scheduling, this is most likely it for WAC expansion for next season.
At this point, it’s likely the Broncs will have 16 conference games (home-and-home against the other eight teams), with those games starting in early January.
However, given that the WAC still needs and wants to add a few more teams, and other conferences, like the Summit, appear to be going through a football/non-football transition, future moves will very likely be made.
“UMKC is a great fit for our league as far as like-schools that bring in 16 programs,” Marks said. “Kansas City is a good basketball town, they have a good program. Coming to the WAC is going to help them.”
Todd Orodenker covers UTPA Athletics for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4431 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ToddO243.