Sport A referee's terrible call spoiled a wild Division III buzzer-beater

21:35  23 january  2020
21:35  23 january  2020 Source:   ftw.usatoday.com

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Division III school St. Olaf and Augsburg played a thriller on Wednesday night in Northfield, Minnesota, but a referee’s bad call changed the outcome of the game and nullified an amazing tip-in game-winner.

a group of people standing on a basketball court© Provided by For The Win

Trailing by a point with just two-tenths of a second on the game clock, St. Olaf had only one chance to win the game – by tipping in an inbounds pass from the baseline. Troy Diggins Jr. elevated and tapped the ball in as quickly as he could, and it appeared that St. Olaf had just pulled off a miraculous finish – until the referee stationed by the St. Olaf bench ran in to wave off the bucket.

The Trent Tucker rule prevents players from being able to catch and shoot a ball if there’s 0.3 seconds left on the game clock or less, as it’s considered impossible for a player to gather possession and get off a shot attempt in such a small window. Players can still legally redirect and score the ball with a tap, which is exactly what happened on this play.

Via the 2019-20 NCAA men’s basketball rulebook:

Art. 19. In any period, when the game clock displays 10ths of seconds and play is to be resumed by a throw-in or a free throw when 3/10ths (.3) of a second or less remains on the game clock, a player may not gain control of the ball and attempt a try for a field goal. Such player can only score a field goal by means of a tap of a pass or of a missed free throw.

Diggins Jr. clearly released the ball before the clock expired, and the ball was in midair when the lights on the scoreboard illuminated to signal the end of the game.

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a group of people standing on a basketball court© Provided by For The Win

Per the rules, the official can override the evidence provided by the buzzer and lights if there is “doubt” that the field goal is good.

“Art. 3. The officials shall make the final decision when there is doubt as to whether a score was made within the shot-clock period or whether a try for goal contacted the ring or flange.”

Unfortunately for St. Olaf players and fans, this blown call cost them a remarkable victory.


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