The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team was forced to play with just four players for the final 6:03 of its game at UAB on Thursday night — and the Bulldogs held their own.
The host UAB Blazers held a 13-point lead when a brawl broke out between the two teams.
Louisiana Tech saw its entire bench and coaching staff — head coach Eric Konkol stayed in — thrown out of the game for fighting. While UAB saw players kicked out as well, but still had bench players available as two stayed put while four jumped into the fracas.
NCAA rules stipulate automatic ejection for leaving the bench to fight.
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Both head coaches remained in the game, but assistant coaches and the like were sent to the locker room early.
Despite playing with just four players, the Bulldogs closed their 13-point deficit by outscoring the Blazers by four down the stretch to lose the Conference USA game 79-70.
“There was some somberness and a little bit of upset on how things happened,” UAB coach Robert Ehsan was quoted by AL.com.
“With older guys, we have really good kids who have never been in anything like that, from both sides, probably a little bit of embarrassment in what happened.”
According to the AP account of the game, UAB's Hakeem Baxter appeared to throw a shoulder into Louisiana Tech's Jacobi Boykins after a foul had been called.
Boykins was immediately ejected for throwing a punch; Baxter was also hit with a tech and ejected.
Then, players and coaches from both sides came out onto the court. After things were sorted out, Louisiana Tech and coach Konkol were left shorthanded.
“I thought it was, obviously, a very hard-played game from start to finish,” Konkol said. “I've got great respect for UAB. I thought it was one of those moments and instances where it was very unfortunate. I want to apologize to our great university and UAB for being involved in it.
“I don't think there's any blame to be thrown at anybody, but it's an unfortunate situation and something our players and coaches will learn from.”
Having just four players at the end of a game brought to mind a memorable scene in the 1986 classic film ‘Hoosiers.’
At least coach Norman Dale had an extra player to use.
He chose not to.