Western Kentucky, sunk by a bad judgment call, and LSU star DeWayne Scales, sabotaged by bad judgment, landed on the outside looking in as the first shots of the NCAA basketball tournament were fired ahead of time yesterday.
First, Western: films show WKU rightfully celebrated at game's end in the Ohio Valley Conference championship final Saturday night, believing it beat Eastern Kentucky, 77-76. But Eastern's 78-77 victory, secured by two free throws a good 10 minutes after the buzzer, off a foul that never should have been called, will not be reversed.
OVC Commissioner Bob Vanatta, the referees, the timer and representatives of EKU and WKU viewed television tape in Bowling Green, Western's strong-hold, and lo, the foul called on WKU center Rick Wray that Eku/'s Dave Tierney coverted had occurred between three and four seconds after time ran out. That's what Western had thought when its team left EKU's court in Richmond only to be called back after that long. long huddle among the officials and the official timer -- from Eastern.
Now, after all the viewing and reviewing yesterday, what say, Commissioner?
"After considering all the evidence that has been presented to us, there is little doubt the call was made after time had run out. But the NCAA rules have no provisions for the review of a game under protest. The game ruling must stand."
Some reward for Western for holding Eastern Kentucky's star, Turk Tillman, to four points -- 24 under his nation's third-best average.