Refs bungle end of UNC/Washington game

Washington Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas (2) walks off the court after losing against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their third round NCAA men’s basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

North Carolina outlasted Washington, 86-83, in Charlotte, but most of the talk after the game was how the officials determined the amount of time remaining on the last play of the game.

Washington’s Venoy Overton heaved a half-court shot (with his off hand, no less) and the ball hit John Henson’s hand before it went out of bounds. The replay clearly showed it hit the floor out of bounds with 1.2 seconds remaining, yet when Washington’s coaching staff asked the refs to check the time, they said it was fine and play proceeded with 0.5 seconds remaining. Washington didn’t have much time to get a good look and ended up taking a contested two-pointer that wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game even if it had gone in.

The NCAA director of men’s officials, John Adams, told CBS after the game that the officials acted correctly since there’s a lag time between when the ball hits, when the official blows his whistle and when the scorekeeper stops the clock.

Fine. But there’s an elephant in the room — why didn’t the officials bother to go to the video? They don’t have to check the video, but if the Washington coaching staff did indeed ask about the time, then the officials should have double-checked. With the Sweet Sixteen on the line, why not take a minute and make sure you got it right?

Who knows, had Washington had an extra 0.7 seconds, maybe they would have had time to get a better shot.

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