The University of West Florida men’s basketball team lost a nail-biter to the Union Bulldogs on Saturday, as a highly disputed call handed the Argos a 63-62 defeat at the UWF Field House.
With 3.8 seconds left, Union guard/forward Terrandus Smith drove into the paint and made a tough layup to give the Bulldogs a one-point lead, but the officials initially ruled the play a charge and West Florida was set to take possession of the ball nursing a 62-61 lead.
However, after a brief conference near the free-throw line, the referees overturned the call and issued a blocking foul against West Florida guard Jon Brown, giving Smith the basket and a foul shot.
Smith missed the free throw and Alasanne Kah grabbed the rebound, quickly calling a timeout with 3.5 seconds left.
The Argos inbounded the ball knowing they would need a good pass and even better look at a shot to win the game. Rahsaan Benson drove up the court and fired off a shot just after crossing half court. The ball bounced off the right rim and the Argos were handed their fourth loss in five contests.
Coach Jeff Burkhamer was visibly frustrated with the officiating crew, but took time to review the video of the controversial call before making a statement.
“Our guys played really hard, and deserved to win,” Burkhamer said. “We got it taken from us. Watched it on video just now. It was the wrong call. They blew the call. It’s too bad for our players, because they deserved to win. A lot of guys played hard, and to get it taken from us at home is very difficult.”
The Argos led by six points with 2:04 left in the game but a 7-0 Union run soured the spirits of the crowd and the players.
Jarrett Henderson and Jon Brown each recorded a double-double for the Argos. Henderson finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Brown added 11 points and grabbed 10 boards.
The loss drops the Argos (3-4, 0-2 GSC) to under .500 for the first time since the 2015-16 season, when the Argos finished 7-19 in Burkhamer’s first season with West Florida.
Saturday’s contest against Union (5-3, 1-1 GSC) closed out a three-game homestand in which the Argos went 1-2 and 0-2 in GSC play.
The Argos will be off for a week before traveling to Atlanta to play No. 11 Morehouse College (5-1, 1-1 SIAC) next Saturday in the Forbes Arena.