Washington Huskies men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar contacted the Pac-12 office on Thursday regarding the end of Wednesday night’s 82-81 loss at Oregon State, claiming that the game clock started late on the final play.
But the Pac-12 determined that the clock operator and game officials handled the play properly.
The replay appears to show that the game clock did not immediately start when Oregon State guard Stephen Thompson Jr. caught the inbounds pass in backcourt with 3.3 seconds remaining. He also clearly traveled prior to releasing the game-winning 3-pointer, though the officials did not call the violation.
Thompson dribbled to the left wing and released the shot with what appeared to be about 0.3 or 0.4 seconds remaining, though the live television copy on ESPNU made it appear as if the clock started a few tenths of a second later than it did.
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Officials reviewed the shot at the replay monitor just after the game ended and concluded that it beat the buzzer.
And the Pac-12 claimed in a statement on Thursday that the officials got it right.
“In reviewing the final sequence of play in the Oregon State-Washington game, it was determined that the clock timing was handled appropriately by the game officials and the clock operator,” the statement read. “While it was questioned whether the Oregon State player should have been called for traveling prior to the final shot, traveling is a judgment call. Traveling is a non-reviewable judgment call.”
A similar situation happened earlier this season in a game between Boise State and Colorado State, with the Mountain West Conference admitting afterward that a disallowed buzzer-beater by Boise State actually should have counted. Even then, the conference couldn’t award Boise State the victory, though it did eventually admit the error.
“The whole point is that you’re talking about a potential NCAA tournament berth,” Romar told the News Tribune. “You’re talking about kids busting their tail, playing their tails off, giving it everything they have, like both teams did, and I don’t want to take anything away from Oregon State because they played hard and won the game based on the final score. But when something like that happens … it’s not even about discussing if the clock started late or if there was a travel or not. It’s not even about that. That’s a foregone conclusion. I’m sure those involved saw that, OK, yeah, there was a travel, OK, yeah, the clock … that was just pretty cut and dry.
“The point is that it’s just difficult to see if it’s that blatant that that could have something to do with potentially ending our season or ending our NCAA tournament chances.”
The loss dropped the Huskies to 16-12 overall and 8-8 in Pac-12 play. They badly needed a victory to enhance their NCAA tournament profile, as did Oregon State. The Beavers outrebounded Washington 41-25 and scored 21 second-chance points, but the Huskies took the lead behind a 56.6 percent shooting effort, including 11-of-24 from 3-point range.
They led 79-73 with just more than a minute remaining, and missed two free throws in the final 21 seconds.
“We were up six points with just over a minute to go,” Romar said. “But the fact is, it still was a final possession that was not … there were obviously some mistakes. So to have these guys fight like that and then come up empty is just hard. I go in the locker room and it’s hard to say anything to the guys, because I know how hard they fought. It’s a great group of kids, but something like that, (if) that’s what potentially keeps you from maybe getting an NCAA tournament berth when it’s all said and done, it’s just hard to swallow.”
Washington visits the 13th-ranked Oregon Ducks at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Eugene, and finishes the regular season with an 8 p.m. Wednesday game against Washington State in Seattle.