Jubilant, the Boise State men’s basketball team celebrated an improbable buzzer-beater, exorcising some demons accumulated over the previous two weeks.
Then came the review to what appeared to be a made 3-pointer by junior forward James Webb III to end the first overtime Wednesday at Colorado State. A few minutes passed by as the fans started to head toward the exits before a stunning overturn of the shot.
Webb appeared to make the off-balance shot, with the score tied 84-84, immediately after senior guard/forward Anthony Drmic inbounded the pass with 0.8 seconds left. But upon review, the officials determined the clock started late, relying on a stopwatch while reviewing the video, and said the shot was taken more than a full second after Webb touched the ball.
It had a profound effect, as the Broncos had to go back out and play a second overtime at Moby Arena. They came out slow in the final period, falling 97-93 in double overtime.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think we can just make up timing rules,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “Hopefully the (Mountain West) conference can explain it to me, because I guess I’m ignorant to what you can do and what you can’t do. They don’t hand-time things in the Olympics anymore.”
Boise State (16-9, 7-5 MW) lost for the fourth time in its past five games, but Rice is not thinking of it that way.
“I’m proud of the team. There were just some things they couldn’t control,” Rice said. “We won that game, far as I’m concerned.”
Senior guard Montigo Alford, making his first start since Nov. 16, had a career-high 25 points for the Broncos and had an obstructed view of Webb’s shot from the elbow. He immediately mobbed Webb, thinking Boise State had won.
“The footage doesn’t lie, (former NBA guard) Derek Fisher got one off in 0.4 (seconds),” Alford said. “It’s pretty clear to me he made it in time.”
The play drawn up for Webb initially was to be a lob, but the Rams cut off the lane, so he curled outside, where Drmic found him open.
“It was too late, or something like that,” Webb said. “I know I didn’t let it go after the buzzer, but they called it off. I can’t control that. ... It was a big effect. The crowd was out of it. They thought it was in, but we go back out there, we foul at the tip and the crowd’s right back into it.”
Colorado State (14-10, 6-5) scored the first nine points of the second overtime, and though Boise State senior guard Lonnie Jackson had a chance to tie when he missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left, the comeback was more than an uphill battle.
The Broncos, who hit a school-record 18 3-pointers in the loss, were outrebounded 49-34, including 13-4 on the offensive end. Leading 72-69 with 1:13 left in regulation, senior guard Mikey Thompson was called for traveling, and the Rams tied it with a 3-pointer a few seconds later. Webb hit a contested jumper with 23 seconds left in regulation that made it 72-72, and Tiel Daniels missed a layup at the buzzer for the Rams.
Following the game, Drmic took to Twitter, saying, “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 (and) effort.”
Frustrated — and by nearly all accounts, justifiably so (ESPN’s SportsCenter timed it as 0.7 seconds between Webb catching it and releasing it) — the Broncos must move on and try to end a two-game losing streak Saturday at home against Wyoming.
“We have to try and roll with it,” Rice said. “This doesn’t make any sense to me right now. Hopefully it does somehow down the road. We’re still confident; we won that game.”
Lead official David Hall explained his call in a post-game statement:
“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.”
Wyoming (12-13, 5-7 MW) at Boise State (16-9, 7-5), 2 p.m. Saturday at Taco Bell Arena (CBS Sports Network, 670 AM)