Referee Explains Controversial Ending to Boise St. vs. Colorado St.

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2016

Boise State's Nick Duncan (13) and James Webb III (23) move up the court during a break in the action of the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. New Mexico won 88-83. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

Boise State’s James Webb III thought he hit the game-winning basket at the end of overtime against Colorado State in Wednesday night’s Mountain West clash, but the officials said he didn’t get the shot off in time. Naturally, Boise State then lost 97-93 in double overtime.

The official review made it look as if Webb III released the shot in time, but the referees used a stopwatch and disallowed it. The fact the Broncos lost in double overtime only made it more difficult for the visitors to swallow.

Official David Hall provided a statement in the aftermath of the controversy, per the Mountain West’s website:

The protocol on any last-second shot, after the shot is made, you go to the monitor to review whether the shot was taken in time or not. We followed the protocol, we went to the monitor and we reviewed whether the shot was taken in the 0.8 seconds that was on the game clock when the ball was inbounded. We did that and we noticed that the game clock was not started upon touch.

We then used a stopwatch overlay from the monitor review system to determine when he touched it and then figure out how many tenths of a second it took from the time he touched the ball until the time he released the ball and whether he was able to get that shot off in that 0.8 seconds.

After reviewing that several times we determined that the shot was late. It was not taken in that 0.8-second time frame, but actually closer to 1.2 or 1.3 time frame. As a result, the basket does not count.

Judge for yourself, as provided a video of the sequence:

Boise State guard Anthony Drmic took to Twitter to express his frustrations: “Everybody knows I don't let my emotions run much on social media, but when players on the opposing team say we got cheated how can I not. Waste of time of effort.”

To be fair, the Broncos still had an opportunity to win the game in double overtime, but they could not come up with critical defensive stops on the way to allowing 97 points. Six Colorado State players finished in double-figures scoring, and Tiel Daniels posted a double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The loss also meant Montigo Alford’s efforts for Boise State were in vain after he scored 25 points and drilled seven three-pointers during the contest.

The fact that it was Drmic who expressed his opinions on Twitter is noteworthy because he is a senior attempting to make the NCAA tournament in his final collegiate season.

Boise State is on the Big Dance bubble at best, and a victory Wednesday would have represented a conference road win. Conference road wins are incredibly valuable as February gradually turns to March in the college basketball world. The selection committee and prognosticators compare resumes, and Boise State is now 7-5 in the league and looking up at 7-4 Fresno State and 7-4 New Mexico.

Everyone also trails the dominant San Diego State Aztecs, who are 11-1 in Mountain West play.

Eamonn Brennan of did not paint an enticing picture while looking at the bubble situation for the Broncos' tournament hopes, and that was before Boise State’s loss to Colorado State: “Boise State lost at Air Force on Saturday, which all but makes it official: The Mountain West's shocking status as a possible one-bid league now relies almost entirely on San Diego State. Weird.”

Adding a loss to the Rams, even in heartbreaking and controversial fashion, is no way to change anyone’s mind about the Mountain West being a one-bid league.