March 11, 2011

Rutgers Gets Jobbed

By - Kris Fletcher

St. John's defeated Rutgers in the Big East Tournament Wednesday evening by a final score of 65-63, thanks largely in part to SEVERAL blown non-calls by the officials in the closing seconds of the game.

With 4.9 seconds remaining, St. John's forward Justin Brownlee picked off the Rutgers inbounds pass, but OBVIOUSLY traveled while trying to dribble out the clock. Brownlee then CLEARLY stepped out of bounds and tossed the ball into the stands with about 1.7 seconds remaining.

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The clock continued to run however, as the officials never bothered to blow a whistle to stop play. The buzzer sounded and the three officials walked off the court. Ballgame.

Under NCAA rules, because the officials did not call traveling, or blow a whistle when Brownlee stepped out of bounds, the clock continued to run, so the play was not reviewable.

Now, I know officials make mistakes, but how do THREE guys manage to make THAT MANY mistakes in the span of 5 seconds? To miss the traveling is one thing, but I can't see how you don't notice a guy standing a foot out of bounds while holding the ball. One official was CLEARLY in a spot to where he SHOULD HAVE made the call.

If nothing else, Rutgers should have been given possession at mid-court with a chance to run another play with 1.7 seconds left. And really, the fact that Brownlee tossed the ball into the stands with time remaining SHOULD HAVE BEEN called a technical foul, which would have had Rutgers shooting two free throws in a 2-point game, PLUS possession of the ball afterwards.

Sure, a lot would have had to happen still for Rutgers to pull out the victory, but they should have at least been given the CHANCE to make those things happen. In this modern age of instant replay and all sorts of other technology, how can a game end like this one did?

The loss ends Rutgers season, seeing as how they had to win the Big East Tournament in order to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Regardless, I'm sure St. John's has no problem taking the win.

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