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Player hits lights; basketball game ends in tie

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Talk about shooting the lights out.

The Division II game Wednesday night between Johnson C. Smith and Winston Salem State ended a in a draw after a player heaved a full-court shot with less than a second left and knocked out lights, forcing the game to be halted for safety concerns.

For Johnson C. Smith’s longtime assistant coach Mark Sherill, that was a first. He has seen a lot as 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 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association game at 76-76 with 0.3 seconds left when Joshua Linson tried a full-court shot. The ball hit two lights and knocked them out – with one light left hanging – according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

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 Thursday morning 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 also stated that the situation is covered in their rules under, Section 4. 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.”

Joyner said the schools and CIAA officials would determine whether the game would be finished at a later date. The schools are 78 miles apart.

CIAA spokeswoman Sharon Goldmacher said Thursday that conference is reviewing its options.

“It was a great call and the right call for safety,” Sherill said. “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.

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