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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):

source:

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.

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