The last thing Rhode Island coach Jim Baron expected at the end of a physical game with Charlotte was for the referees to decide the outcome.
Michael Gerrity hit two free throws after a questionable foul call with less than a second to play and Charlotte rallied from a late 5-point deficit to beat Rhode Island, 75-73, in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament last night in Atlantic City.
"I am very disappointed for our kids because I thought it was a terrific game," Baron said. "It went back and forth."
Unfortunately for URI, the last two calls went against the Rams.
Kahiem Seawright was called for an offensive foul on a screen with 8.2 seconds to play and Keith Cothran was called for fouling Gerrity on a drive to the basket with three-10ths of a second left.
Baron said URI guard Parfait Bitee was pushed on the possession before the Gerrity's drive and nothing was called.
"It's a very disappointing way [to finish]," Baron said. "Once you're done, it goes from us to them and all the sudden the foul is called down there, and it was physical, too, but it was totally taken away from the kids."
Leemire Goldwire hit three clutch late 3-pointers and scored 23 points as the sixth-seeded 49ers (19-12) advanced to face third-seeded Massachusetts in a quarterfinal tonight.
Jimmy Baron had 25 points to lead the 11th-seeded Rams (21-11), who lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
Charlotte trailed by 5 entering the second half and did not tie the score until Charlie Coley, a 53 percent free throw shooter, made two attempts from the line with 37.7 seconds to play. The foul was the fifth on URI's Will Daniels, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
URI called two timeouts over the next 22 seconds. After the second timeout, the Rams were working the ball up high when Seawright was called for a foul. After a timeout, Gerrity took the inbound pass in the backcourt, dribbled to the frontcourt, and made a move to the basket, where he was fouled by Cothran.
Baron held his head in disbelief after the call by Will Bush.
Gerrity, who made both free throws to give Charlotte its only lead of the half, felt it was a foul.
"I was hoping they would call it," he said. "Usually they don't call it down the stretch. I went in strong and thankfully the ref made the call."
Dayton 63, Saint Louis 62 - Marcus Johnson scored 8 of his 16 points in overtime and hit the winning basket with 32 seconds remaining as the eighth-seeded Flyers edged the No. 9 Billikens to earn the right to face top seed and 10th-ranked Xavier today.
Mickey Perry added 11 points and Andres Sandoval had 10 points and five assists for Dayton (21-9). Leading scorer Brian Roberts, who averages 19 points, was held to 5, matching his season low.
It was the fourth time in the last six games that Dayton and Saint Louis (16-15) have gone to overtime, with the Flyers winning all four.
Danny Brown's 3-point play with 50.3 seconds left in overtime gave the Billikens a 62-61 lead. Johnson came back with a jumper in the lane, and Brown's jumper from the left wing went off the front of the rim at the buzzer.
Saint Joseph's 80, Fordham 62 - Pat Calathes had 23 points and seven rebounds and the Hawks used a 21-3 first-half run to break the game open against the Rams.
Tasheed Carr shot 7 of 7 and had 16 points and seven assists for fifth-seeded Saint Joseph's (19-11), which will meet fourth-seeded Richmond in today's quarterfinals.
Calathes was 9 of 12 from the field and the Hawks shot 57 percent in posting their second win over the 12th-seeded Rams this season. Bryant Dunston led Fordham (12-17) with 17 points.
La Salle 82, Duquesne 79 - Rodney Green hit a go-ahead free throw with 23.8 seconds to play and the seventh-seeded Explorers rallied from a late 7-point deficit to outlast the Dukes.
Darnell Harris hit a 27-footer to tie the score at 79 with less than a minute to play, and Ruben Guillandeaux added two free throws with 13 seconds left for La Salle (15-16). Tenth-seeded Duquesne (17-13) had a chance to tie, but Gary Tucker missed a 3-pointer.
La Salle plays No. 2 seed Temple today.