If you believe in breaks evening out, Iowa State opponents are going have heck to pay next year.
For the second time this season, an officiating error possibly influenced the outcome of a game, and the timing couldn’t have been worse with this one ending the Cyclones’ season in the NCAA Tournament.
The scene: Iowa State’s Will Clyburn went hard to the basket and Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft slid into position to take a charge as Clyburn’s shot went down. The Cyclones led 75-74 with 1:41 remaining when the call was made.
But the heel of Craft’s right foot was over the restricted area line, and according to NCAA officials supervisor John Adams, that means Craft was in the area where a charge cannot be called.
“The rule is a secondary defender cannot establish legal guardian position standing in the restricted area,” Adams told CBS. “On a number of replays we looked at, a case is being made that the defender had his foot up in the air hovering over the restricted area. If that is indeed the case, that defender would not be in a legal guarding position.”
Instead of a three-point lead and a chance to make it four, the margin remained at one. Craft tied with a free throws, then hit the game-winning three-pointer with .5 seconds remaining.
“I’m not sure if he got position or if he was there or not,” Clyburn said. “I really don’t have much to say about what the ref did or called.”
The call brought back memories of the Kansas game at Ames on Feb. 25 when controversial calls went against the Cyclones that allowed the game to go into overtime, when the Jayhawks prevailed. The Big 12 publicly announced it had punished two officials by restricting future assignments.
Craft’s, of course (sorry, Cyclones) and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo’s three-pointer that clinched the comeback victory over Temple, and Tyrone Garland’s drive that gave La Salle the game-winner over Ole Miss. Sunday, the dramatic finish returned to the tournament.
Lt. Col. Douglas A. LeVien sat behind the La Salle bench throughout the weekend at Sprint Center, and he’s off to Los Angeles in the same wardrobe and face paint. Blue and gold, fuzzy hair, tacky sports coat, Army pants, silver platform shoes.
“After 21 years of having our hearts broken, we just decided to have a little fun,” LeVien said.
The Explorers are off to a West Regional Sweet 16 date against Wichita State after beating Mississippi 76-74 on Tyrone Garland’s drive and tie-breaking basket with 2.5 seconds remaining. LeVein and similarly dressed buddies were with the team in Dayton, Ohio, for its opening round victory over Boise State and will take their support to Staples Center.
Who’d have thought Kansas would work better without second-team All-America Ben McLemore? But McLemore’s shooting never got untracked, and when reserve Naadir Tharpe caught fire in the second half with a trio of triples against North Carolina, Coach Bill Self let it ride as the Jayhawks won by a dozen.