Mountain West on Boise State basketball loss: Officials made correct call

Boise State coach Leon Rice met with the media Thursday afternoon to discuss the controversial ruling of the Broncos’ apparent game-winner in overtime Wednesday at Colorado State.

The Mountain West’s statement defending the call to overturn junior forward James Webb III’s 3-pointer was released less than an hour prior, but discrepencies were quickly discovered by those viewing it, noting that the stopwatch display for the refs was operating about twice the speed of the Moby Arena clock.

“I’m still gathering in and processing,” Rice said. “... with what the officials had to work with, they thought they made the right call.”

Boise State said the league is now aware of the discrepency and is investigating.

Rice noted that when Boise State got the ball with 0.8 seconds left, it was preceded by a Colorado State turnover that seemed to occur with a little more than a second remaining, but was not reviewed.

“It’s an interesting can of worms, because how can you time the last possession on video and are so precise, quote unquote ... but the possession before, why does that time not matter?” Rice said. “I think we’re opening a can of worms in college basketball that better be fixed, or you might have a lot of these kind of situations.”

Rice said it “would be devastating, like dying another death” if the league admits the call was wrong, but does not give the win to the Broncos. It’s extremely rare for a win to be issued later, as missed calls like in the Miami-Duke college football game this last season would have ended the game, but instead, resulted in another’s victory. In that case, referees were suspended and a statement was issued, but the win did not change hands.

Adding it would be “egregious” if the referees were given faulty information, Rice said he would feel for them, since they were operating with the only resources they had on hand, he said “maybe this is a precedent.”


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the score tied and 0.8 second(s) remaining in the first overtime of last night’s Boise State at Colorado State game, a Boise State player made a three-point basket which would have resulted in a victory for Boise State. In accordance with NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 11, Article 4, Section 2, Article 1 c 1; Article 4, Section 3, Article 1 a 1, and; standard protocol, the officials went to the scorer’s table to determine whether the game clock malfunctioned or whether a timing mistake occurred in starting or stopping the game clock. The game officials determined the game clock did not start when the ball was first touched by the Boise State player.

The officials then utilized the digital stopwatch embedded within the video overlay in the instant replay system to determine how many tenths of a second expired between the time the Boise State player touched the ball and the moment he released the shot. After reviewing the video and stopwatch combination several times, it was determined the shot was not released within an 0.8 second(s) time frame and thus did not count.

The Mountain West Coordinator of Officials, the NCAA National Coordinator of Officials, the NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor and the MW Conference office have reviewed the play extensively and consulted on the administration of the video review. It has been determined the game officials executed the appropriate protocol and made the correct call.

It is standard procedure to review potential game-ending baskets and the game officials came to their determination utilizing the official video and embedded clock technology within the approved multi-camera capture instant replay system.

It is clear 1.2 to 1.3 seconds elapsed from the time the player touched the ball to the time the shot was released, and that the game clock did not start for several tenths of a second after the initial touch. Thus, the basket did not count — regardless of what was ultimately reflected on the game clock or what other unofficial video replays may appear to indicate.

Finally, some question has been raised regarding the preceding play, where Colorado State turned the ball over. The Mountain West has also reviewed that play utilizing the official replay system and determined the clock stopped correctly at 0.8 second(s) once the official blew his whistle for the backcourt violation. His whistle stopped the clock automatically via the Precision Timing System at that instant.


It is the second time in a week the Mountain West has had to issue a statement for a late-game call. On Saturday, the incorrect call was made on an inbound play during the New Mexico-San Diego State game, resulting in a Lobos’ turnover with 12.9 seconds left. The game ended up going to overtime.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas put out a succession of pretty funny tweets criticizing the league and the call Wednesday night.

In this ESPN clip, former Virginia Tech coach and current ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said he “would’ve had an out of body experience” if the call went against his team, commending Boise State coach Leon Rice on his composure.

The ESPN timer on Webb’s shot showed it took him 0.63 seconds to shoot. Greenberg is among the litany of people agreeing the wrong call was made.

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