It’s safe to say this wasn’t a comfortable phone call for either party. Gonzaga Coach Mark Few told the Associated Press Friday that the NCAA called to let him know officials made the wrong call on a 10-second violation that went against the Bulldogs during their Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse on Friday.
The turnover occurred with 1 minutes 17 seconds left and Gonzaga leading 60-59. Josh Perkins tossed a bounce pass to Kyle Dranginis across midcourt, and Syracuse’s Trevor Mooney knocked it back across the line, where Dranginis picked it up for the Zags.
Refs whistled a 10-second violation, but the time limit in the backcourt should have reset once Mooney touched the ball in the frontcourt.
Take a look:
Even without the missed call, though, it seems likely Gonzaga would have lost this one anyway. Syracuse ended the contest on a 15-3 run, scoring the game’s last four points to claim a come-from-behind 63-60 victory. The Orange failed to capitalize off that particular turnover with points, and they fell victim to another botched call a minute later, when refs whistled Trevor Cooney for stepping out of bounds off a steal even though, you know, he didn’t.
Still, basketball is a funny game, so you never know what might have happened if the referee hadn’t missed that backcourt call. The Zags might have scored on that possession, extending their one-point lead and altering the complexion of that final minute.
“If you score there, you’re up by [three or] four, and if they subsequently go down and miss, they’d have fouled,” Few said.
Few wasn’t about to pin his team’s meltdown on the refs, though. The 17th-year Gonzaga head coach pointed out that a missed call is merely one of numerous elements that factor into any given basketball game. To err is human, something the Zags, at least in the Big Dance, understand all too well at this point.
“I think it’s probably good in our sport to say, ‘Hey, we screwed up,’ ” Few said. “I didn’t make all the perfect calls in that game, either.”