Refs Cost West Virginia The Game

An unforgivable goaltending no-call hands Syracuse the win.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

Most things in life aren't black and white. Definitely most officiating calls are very rarely black and white, but the refs blowing the goaltending call at the end of regulation between #3 Syracuse and West Virginia was one of those things. The Syracuse goal-tending against West Virginia was absolutely and irrevocably one of the most blatant missed calls in college basketball in the last decade. What made it such a horrible mistake by the officials was both the fact that it was as obvious as a Toyota Pathfinder clobbering you as you walk across the street and that it decided the game. 

With just 10 seconds left on the court and down by two point, West Virginia's Deniz Kilicli laid the ball off the backboard only to have Syracuse's Baye Moussa knock it out of the hoop after it clearly had already banked off the backboard. This is a textbook goaltending. It is the very definition of goaltending. It is not debatable. Yet, somehow no whistle blew. No game-tying bucket was allowed. The referee who we can only hope will soon be relegated to reffing 3rd grade YMCA basketball games in North Dakota for the rest of his career stood 10 feet away and unexplainably saw nothing. 

The West Virginia players and coaches were beside themselves in disbelief. Honestly, you could even see the Syracuse players pretty amazed the refs hadn't blown the whistles. Everyone kept looking around for order and decency to be established, but no such luck. Goaltending isn't a reviewable play in basketball. This means no matter how blatant the goaltending, if all the refs on the floor simultaneously blackout and miss it, it never happened. 

The game had been incredible up to that point with Syracuse's guard play being well balanced by West Virginia's inside attack. Jones led the Mountaineers with 20 points on 8-20 from the field. It was both a matchup of two great programs and two great coaches that did not disappoint. It is a heartbreaking way to end a great game. The Mountaineers really needed the win to help solidify their quest for an at-large tournament bid which is now even more tenuous.