Little Rock almost had to take a shot in the dark to try to beat Louisiana on Friday night, thanks to an arena ops malfunction.
The teams suddenly found themselves competing on a darkened, red-tinged court as the final play was unfolding in the closing seconds of the second half. Officials allowed the game to continue even though there was a serious visual disruption.
The regular lights came back on quickly, but at that point the rhythm of the play had been thrown off. Little Rock threw a prayer toward the rim just before the final horn, and the shot fell short. The Trojans lost 66-64.
“The light went out with about seven seconds on the clock and everyone froze,” Little Rock coach Darrell Walker told reporters (per Arkansas Online). Walker said that officials wouldn’t say why play was allowed to continue. “There was no explanation on the floor, just that the game was over with,” he said.
“I’m not going to get into it. It is what it is. We lost. We’ll move on and get ready for the next game.”
That next game is Saturday in Lafayette when the teams meet on the second night of a back-to-back. The Sun Belt Conference scheduled back-to-backs to reduce travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.