By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
The Bacone College men’s basketball team dropped an 92-83 decision in Red River Athletic Conference action to the University of the Southwest at the Palmer Center on Saturday night, but the game had its share of controversy.
The controversy started when Bacone coach Alan Foster was whistled for a technical foul with 15:22 left in the game. He argued, but school president Dr. Robert Duncan, sitting in the stands, evidently said something to the officials.
“It was a weak technical. I didn’t yell or curse,” Foster, also the school’s athletic director, said. “He gave me a technical and I sat down like you’re supposed to do after you get a technical. The next thing I know they’re trying to remove the president from the game. I don’t know what happened because I was 60-70 feet away. The referee said we’re not going to continue playing until he’s gone.”
As it turned out, Duncan remained in the Palmer Center, but sat a few rows higher up in the stands.
“Once they knew who they were talking about, they backed up,” Foster said. “You don’t see many referees do that. If that was somebody else, they might not have backed up. That’s their prerogative.”
Duncan said after the game that he didn’t “have any comment for the paper.”
Associate athletic director John Pickens said he didn’t see the incident.
“I wasn’t out here when it went on,” he said. “I got called from outside to come in. I really don’t know.”
The officials said they were told by the RRAC commissioner not to comment on the incident.
Whatever happened, it goes down as the seventh straight loss for the Warriors, who have not won since Nov. 16. Bacone falls to 1-10 overall and 0-6 in the league.
A key point in the game came in the first half with Bacone clinging to a 21-20 lead with 9:33 left when the Mustangs (4-8, 1-7) scored eight straight points to go up 28-21 with 7:58 left, the final two coming from Curtis Thompson, who finished with a game-high 30 points. Bacone trailed the Hobbs, N.M., school 41-33 at halftime.
“That was a big swing. We didn’t play well enough in the first half,” Foster said. “They just outhustled us.”
Bacone, though, rallied to tie the game as late as 73-73 with 4:35 left in the game, but it couldn’t take the lead. After that, the Warriors got as close as 79-77 on Alex Wilson’s basket with 1:52 left, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
Despite the loss, the Warriors placed four players in double figures, led by Jeremy McClain’s 15 points. Kwame Bates and Roland Barbaza had 14 each and Christian Smith added 12.
Jonathan Williams scored 18 and Michael Russell added 12 for the Mustangs.
USW 74, Bacone 55
The Lady Warriors (3-7, 2-4) struggled defensively, particularly against the Lady Mustangs’ Anika Hostos. The 5-foot-4 junior sank 9-of-20 shots from 3-point range as part of her game-high 35 points.
“She outshot us,” coach Robbie Shay said. “When you don’t show up and play defense, you’re not going to win ballgames.”
By comparison, Bacone only made 4-of-16 shots from 3-point range.
Destinee Duncan was the lone Warrior to score in double figures with 11.
“We didn’t pick her up from the beginning of the game,” Duncan said about the defense. “We just didn’t stop her. We didn’t come ready to play.”
Nikki Sylvester scored 11 and Johnnelle Kapua added 10 for the Lady Mustangs (6-10, 3-5).