BUFORD, Ga. – The Tupelo Rock-N-Rollers were ready for overtime.
With time expiring in Friday’s World Basketball Association Exposure League championship game, the Rock-N-Rollers’ O’Brian Lowe grabbed the rebound off teammate Daryl Wilson’s miss and put the ball back up for what would have been the tying basket.
But the officials waved that basket off, ruling that it came after the buzzer, and the top-seeded Buford Majic escaped their own gym with a 93-91 victory over the second-seeded Rock-N-Rollers.
Wayne Arnold hit an 18-foot shot with 3.8 seconds left to give the Majic the lead. After a Tupelo timeout, Wilson would then miss a 3-point attempt.
Rock-N-Rollers owner Russell Brooks, named the WBAexecutive of the year, said his team thought that Wilson may have been fouled.
“They made a shot with their best player,” said Rock-N-Rollers head coach Brian Alexander, “while we missed a shot with our best player.”
The Rock-N-Rollers led by 10 points in the second half, but failed to score on six straight possessions, from the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter to a minute, 30 seconds left in the game to let the Majic get back in it.
The teams were tied at 52 at halftime. “Buford deserves credit for this championship,” Alexander said.
Wilson, the 36-year-old former Mississippi State standout, led Tupelo with 23 points, while Courtney Bradley added 17. Chris Sykes had 16 and Jason Smith 15.
The Rock-N-Rollers finished their inaugural season with an 8-4 record. Three of those losses were in games against the Majic.
“We were predicted not to win a game,” Alexander said. “We were in the upper echelon of the league.
“And they are guys that are going to get to play more basketball overseas. That’s what this exposure league is all about.”
NEMS Daily Journal