The scene was Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton; three Big East referees walking off the court into the Madison Square Garden leaving Rutgers head coach Mike Rice, his players and fans mouths wide open in shock of what their eyes just witnessed.
A buzzer beater? Not quite, a cheerleader running on the court before the buzzer sounded? Closer. How about St. John's forward Justin Brownlee running out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left on the clock. Well, what’s wrong with that? It’s a simple call; it’s a travel and Rutgers gets the ball, well wrong. How about game over, St. John's wins, sounds good to them.
That was the buzz that was spreading around the sports world as how could three college referees, pretty much professionals, allow that to happen. As a result to the incident Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton all decided to withdraw from the remainder of the Big East tournament. So there you go, problem solved; there won't be another missed call of that altitude again now. Well, wrong again.
Fast forward to Syracuse vs. Connecticut, 2:40 left in the second half, the Orange trailing by two points. Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine pulls up for a mid-range jump shot that rolls around the rim until Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb jumps up and knocks it off into the hands of Syracuse forward CJ Fair who then gets stripped by Connecticut guard Kemba Walker.
There was no call, just an upset Jim Boeheim, an upset bench and an upset crowd. Sure enough, after looking at the replay, you could see that the ball was still on the rim when Lamb’s hand touched the ball making it a goal tend and a what could’ve been a happy Boeheim, a happy bench, a happy crowd and maybe a different game.
Should there be replay in College Basketball?
Despite the fact that it was a goal tend and the Orange should’ve been rewarded two points, giving them a 62-60 lead with right around two minuets to go, unfortunately, that’s not how it went.
Instead it went like, Jeremy Lamb tips it, Cj Fair gets the rebound but then gets stripped by Kemba Walker who dribbles down the court finding Jeremy Lamb wide open for a three-pointer, giving the Huskies a 65-60 lead. That just goes to show you that one little missed call can change a game.
The Orange would go on to fight back after Jardine would hit two three-pointers in the closing seconds, sending the game into overtime. However, in overtime, the Orange wouldn’t be able to knock down their free throws, giving the Huskies a 76-71 win and another night in Madison Square Garden.
So now, the question comes up, should the NCAA adopt a replay policy? Even if it’s not for a whole game, maybe just the last two minuets in the second half or something similar to that or maybe even do it like the NFL? Each coach gets two challenges on a call that they feel may have been missed, and if they are right, they are rewarded one more challenge.
Now, you may agree or disagree but just think, if those three referees, Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton went to the replay booth, saw that Brownlee did step out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left and then gave the ball to Rutgers and just say that Rutgers hit a two-pointer sending the game into overtime or hitting a game-winning three.
Who knows how the tournament could’ve played out? Or say that the referees looked at the goal tending call and saw that Lamb’s hand did touch the ball while being on the rim, giving Syracuse two points and a lead. WHO KNOWS? But the one question is whose going to fix it?