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Refs blew call that cost Colorado win at Arizona, but not how you think

Jan 4, 2013, 12:12 AM EDT

Sean Miller

For the second time this week, the refs blew a call that could have cost a road team a basket in crunch time.

On Tuesday night, the crew working UConn’s visit to Marquette allowed the teams to start overtime going in the wrong direction. When a Shabazz Napier layup was goaltended by Jamil Wilson, they said that the call was an inadvertent whistle — you can’t goaltend on your own basket — when the NCAA rulebook clearly states that the basket should have counted.

The missed call in No. 3 Arizona’s 92-83 win over Colorado in overtime was much, much more important, however; a three-pointer that Sabatino Chen hit at the end of regulation with the score tied at 80 should have counted.

But it’s not for the reason you think.

First things first: here is the rule pertaining to a situation like this. It’s Rule 5, Section 7, Article 2a:

In games with a 10th-of-a-second game clock display and where an official courtside monitor is used, the reading of zeros on the game clock is to be used to determine whether a try for goal occurred before or after the expiration of time in any period. When the game clock is not visible, the officials shall verify the original call with the use of the red/LED light(s). When the red/LED light(s) are not visible, the sounding of the game-clock horn shall be utilized. When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands.

Watch the video. Look at the two pictures embedded here. What do you think? Does Chen get the ball off before the clock above the back board (and not the one in the bottom-right hand corner) goes to triple-zeroes?

Take away any rooting bias you may have here. There’s no way to irrefutably determine whether or not that ball is not on his fingertips when the clock hits triple-zeroes. The image is just too blurry.

Let’s go to the last sentence of that rule, then: “When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands.”

If you look at the bottom of the screen, there is one official that signals a made three. Here’s the screen-grab evidence, via our own Terrence Payne (here’s a look at a full-screen shot of the ref signalling the made three):


So a ref called the three good initially. The video review was inconclusive. They should have gone back to the original ruling. The basket should have been good and Colorado should have won the game. (For what it’s worth, Director of Officiating John Adams told Mike DeCourcy the refs got the call right. I’ll respectfully disagree.)

The worst part?

This wasn’t the only call blown by the officials in the final minutes of the game. Solomon Hill hit a huge three in Arizona’s comeback when he was put into the game on an illegal substitution. The refs missed a blatantly obvious intentional foul by Andre Roberson that cost Arizona’s Nick Johnson a layup. They called an atrocious foul on Mark Lyons when Spencer Dinwiddie fell over.

This was not the finest moment for the guys in stripes.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. 69jaredallen69 - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    The day the NCAA admits they are wrong will be the day pigs fly

  2. funktron2x - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    This Is Pac-12 Basketball. The refs are inconsistent to a level off absurdity year in and year out.

  3. Troy Machir - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Colorado was on the wrong end of two bad calls.

    But I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say they “Got jobbed” or “Got a raw deal”. Those both imply that there was intent. There was no intent to screw Colorado.

    The Refs just plain sucked.

    • Rob Dauster - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      The only reason that Colorado was in a position to win the game at the buzzer was two missed calls in the Buff’s favor. No intentional was called on Andre Roberson and the foul on Mark Lyons. There was SO MANY awful calls in the final minutes.

  4. buffalobills2012 - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    what about the double dribble on the 2nd az possession in ot? dude jumped list ball grabbed it then went back up for layup +2

  5. xli2006 - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    There is no excuse for what the refs did to CU last night. Watching that unfold was painful and I have no interest in either team.

    There was clearly time left on the clock, Colorado won the game, the refs deserve some amount of retribution/penalty, and the NCAA/Pac 12 owe CU and their fans a major apology.

  6. dannymac17 - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    that was an awful call and i dont like college hoops.


  7. broncobeta - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Why even play the game if crap like this happens?

    When will people realize that refs simply do not work at any level of sports? Technology is just way too good nowadays to leave it up in the hands of people.

  8. danphxariz - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    The image of the game clock above the basket is not blurry earlier in the video and the time and clearly be seen. It is exactly the same as the time in the bottom right corner of the screen. So, both clocks were in alignment, regardless of whether the image is blurry or not in the final tenths of a second. Using frame advance, the ball is well out of Chen’s hand and on the way to the basket with 0.2 seconds left on the clock on the bottom right corner, which earlier in the video is exactly aligned with the game clock. So it is not inconclusive at all. There is conclusive evidence that the shot should have counted and Colorado should have won. BTW I’m an Arizona alum and fan and even I admit this was total BS. I’d rather have the team earn the victories than be handed them by incompetent (or worse) officiating.

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