A “microburst of vapor” that settled on the court is what caused “unsafe court conditions” that forced Thursday night’s men’s basketball game between Delaware and Towson at SECU Arena to be suspended early in the second half, Towson University announced Friday afternoon.
In a written statement, Dan Crowley, the university’s interim athletic director, said humidity levels inside the arena were low after more than a week of below-freezing temperatures outside. Low humidity combined with an announced attendance of nearly 1,900 created a sheen of moisture that blanketed the court and caused the surface to become slippery.
Crowley said the university’s facilities team spent Friday addressing the situation “to prevent this from happening again.” A women’s basketball game between Northeastern and Towson scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. is set to go on as planned.
Towson’s game against Delaware was suspended with 18:42 left and the visiting Blue Hens leading 38-29. Several players fell to the floor in the first half, and after junior guard Jameer Nelson Jr. slipped after halftime, officials gathered and eventually suspended the game until a later date, which has not been finalized.
Towson said fans in attendance have the option to retain their tickets and use them to attend the completion of the game, request an account credit that can be applied towards any other athletic event this season, or request a refund of the ticket purchase.
“I never thought we’d walk down after halftime and the officials would bring us together and talk about ‘Hey, if somebody else falls down, we’re going to suspend the game,’” Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby said Thursday night after the game was suspended.
Dylan Painter had a game-high 14 points for Delaware.
“I just told our team ‘If you stay in this long enough, you end up seeing anything,’” Towson coach Pat Skerry said. “I will tell you for the record, I have seen this before. I was an assistant at College of Charleston when we played Auburn in the Charleston Coliseum and guys were falling on the floor and they pulled the plug on it.”
The teams were meeting for the second time in four days, after Towson won 69-62 on Monday to move into second place in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The game was the first since Towson updated its COVID-19 policy to return to 100% capacity for all indoor athletic contests. The school announced late last month that attendance would be limited to 50% capacity, masks that cover the nose and mouth would be required for all attendees regardless of vaccination status, and concessions would not be available.
The mask mandate remains in place, though concessions have resumed.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.