/WATCH: Lights go out in final seconds, Sun Belt officials let play continue in the dark with game on the line
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WATCH: Lights go out in final seconds, Sun Belt officials let play continue in the dark with game on the line

Little Rock, the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt, lost Friday 66-64 to Louisiana in a lights out finish that may live on forever in infamy. And by lights out, I mean, quite literally, the lights went out.

With the Trojans trailing by two points and in possession of the ball, the red “victory lights” inside the Cajundome kicked on, and the regular lights went dark with five seconds still remaining in regulation. Officials did not call a stoppage and let the game continue on, thrusting the final frenzied seconds into complete mayhem as players scrambled in confusion.

Little Rock’s would-be game-winner from 3-point range fell short, sealing Louisiana’s win. Louisiana’s coaches and players quickly scurried to the locker room as the officials declared the game was over, but Little Rock coach Darrell Walker could be seen arguing about the ending. And according to The Acadiana Advocate, he had to be restrained by arena officials and a police officer because of a heated endgame debate with the officials.

Patrick Walsh, associate communications director for Little Rock astutely noted on Twitter afterwards: “No whistle. No review. No conversation. Just… Game over. ¯_(ツ)_/¯”

There was no empathy from the side of the Cajuns, however. Head coach Bob Marlin waited around a few seconds after the wild finish to see what, if anything, the officials might do to remedy the situation. But he quickly headed to the locker room and gathered his team after learning there would be no action taken.

“The regular lights were on when he missed the last shot,” Marlin told The Advocate, conveniently bypassing the major distraction of the regular lights going out and red lights going on in the most critical juncture of the game. “Like I said, if they make the shot, they’re not complaining.”

Marlin called Walker a “good friend and a good coach,” and we’ll find out pretty quickly if there’s any lingering animosity from the atrocity that took place Friday. The two teams play again Saturday night in the Cajundome.