NCAA Says Officials Should Have Called Goaltending in Gonzaga vs. Northwestern

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Head coach Chris Collins of the Northwestern Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NCAA released a statement Saturday night confirming officials should have called Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Zach Collins for basket interference and goaltending when he extended his arm through the rim to block a shot by Northwestern Wildcats center Dererk Pardon.

The pivotal play came with 4:57 remaining in regulation and the Wildcats trailing by five after they went on a 23-8 run to put a significant dent in an 18-point halftime deficit:

"Article 2.a.3 states that basket interference occurs when a player reaches through the basket from below and touches the ball before it enters the cylinder," the NCAA said in the statement, per Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn. "Replays showed the Gonzaga defender violated this rule, which should have resulted in a scored basket by Northwestern."

Wildcats head coach Chris Collins—who was whistled for a technical foul after he argued the non-call—did not sound thrilled with the retroactive assessment by the NCAA.

"Thank you for the statement, appreciate it," he said, per Athlon Sports' Bryan Fischer. "Should have been a three-point game."

Instead, Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss drilled two free throws to punctuate a four-point swing and put his side up seven.

The Bulldogs proceeded to tread water for the remainder of regulation and pulled out a nervy 79-73 win that ended Northwestern's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance after two games.

With a victory in tow, the West Region's No. 1 seed will turn its attention to a Sweet 16 date with the fourth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers—who defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 83-71, Saturday afternoon.

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