CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Talk about shooting the lights out.
The Division II game between Johnson C. Smith and Winston Salem State was halted for safety reasons after a player heaved a full-court shot and knocked out lights — leaving the game tied with 0.3 seconds left on Wednesday night. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association announced Thursday the game will be completed Friday afternoon at Johnson C. Smith, starting with a 5-minute overtime.
For Johnson C. Smith's longtime assistant coach Mark Sherill, the bizarre night was a first. He has seen a lot in 21 years as an assistant at Johnson C. Smith — where he also played — but nothing like this.
A tip-in by Javan Wells of the Rams tied the game at 76-76 with 0.3 seconds left, and Joshua Linson grabbed the ball and heaved a full-court shot. The ball hit two lights and knocked them out, leaving one fixture hanging precariously from a chain.
Coach Stephen Joyner Sr., also the Johnson C. Smith athletic director, spoke with the game officials to assess the situation and it was deemed a safety concern.
"We didn't know how long the chains would last," Sherill said. "The Winston-Salem coach (Bobby Collins) agreed it didn't look safe. I've been in basketball a long time; this is the first time I've ever had a draw."
The CIAA released a statement early Thursday saying, "We were made aware of the damaged light fixture, which made continuation of play in an overtime period impossible in the judgment of administrators and officials on site. In such circumstances, safety is our top priority."
The release from the CIAA also stated the situation is covered under Rule 5, Section 4 for Interrupted Game:
"When a game is interrupted because of events beyond the control of the responsible administrative authorities, it shall be continued from the point of interruption unless the teams agree otherwise or there are applicable conference, league or association rules."
"It was a great call and the right call for safety," Sherill said of schools, which are 78 miles apart. "If it would have come down on one of the student-athletes (in overtime), you would have been calling us for something else."
Linson scored a career-high 25 points for Johnson C. Smith, with Emilio Parks adding 18. Antwan Wilkerson had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Marquez Jones scored 21 points, Preston Ross 20 and Wykevin Bazemore 16 for the Rams.
The CIAA tournament begins next week in Charlotte at Time Warner Cable Arena, where only a large scoreboard hangs from the ceiling.