Joe Dooley

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 17:  Head coach Joe Dooley of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles reacts in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Big Ten confirms that referee was at fault in Michigan State-FGCU ending

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The Big Ten confirmed what NBC Sports reported last night: That it was an error made by one of the referees – and NOT Michigan State’s timekeeper – that started the clock early on the final play of the Spartans’ win over FGCU.

“After a complete review of the timing error on the game’s final play with 1.6 seconds remaining, it was confirmed that a game official improperly set the clock in motion via his Precision Timing belt pack,” the Big Ten’s statement read. “The subsequent adjudication of rules, allowing for use of the courtside video monitor and a hand-held digital stopwatch to determine whether the shot was released prior to expiration, and if there was any time remaining in the game, were properly administered.”

The conference did not name the official.

FGCU had the ball under the Michigan State basket, down 78-77 with 1.6 seconds left last night at the Breslin Center. On the final play, the clock was started when the inbounder threw the pass as opposed to when it was caught by the FGCU player. That player, Antravious Simmons, caught the ball as the horn sounded and rushed a potential game-winning shot at the rim.

The officials went to the monitor to review the play and ruled that the game was over.

VIDEO: No. 13 Michigan State survives FGCU thanks to clock operator error

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 18:  Miles Bridges #22 of the Michigan State Spartans dunks during the game against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at the Breslin Center on November 18, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
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No. 13 Michigan State escaped the Breslin Center with a 78-77 win over FGCU on Sunday night thanks in large part to an error made by the person running the clock in the arena.

With 1.6 seconds left, the Eagles had the ball under their own basket, needing to go 94 feet to get a bucket to win the game. Christian Terrell launched an 80-foot inbounds pass that ended up in the hands of Antravious Simmons, but as he caught the ball, the final buzzer sounded.

Instead of starting the clock on the catch, the clock started on the pass. Check it out:

The referees went to the monitor and ruled that the game was over. FGCU head coach Joe Dooley was, rightly, livid, letting the referees and the clock operator have a piece of his mind before he left the floor.

“Miles Bridges didn’t touch the ball,” FGCU head coach Joe Dooley said. “Officials said they can only review it if the shot goes in. We threw the ball in at 1.6 and caught it at 0. The refs said they didn’t start the clock. The table said they didn’t start the clock. The refs said they could only review if the shot goes in. My guy (Antravious Simmons) heard the buzzer and shot it.”

A source told NBCSports that it was NOT the clock operator at the Breslin Center that made the mistake. The “ref had the clock,” the source said.

The question is whether or not the buzzer affected Antravious Simmons’ shot. It looked like he rushed the shot once he heard the buzzer going off, but he knew there was only 1.6 seconds left on the clock. Wouldn’t that be what his shot looked like anyway?

Regardless, many believed that FGCU should have gotten a do-over, but that’s not how the rules work in this situation. The referees don’t have the authority to give FGCU a do-over. What they are allowed to do on a clock-keeper error is to determine whether or not the shot was actually released in the amount of time that was left on the clock. Since Simmons missed the shot, it was a moot point. If he had made the shot that had clearly come after the buzzer sounds, they would have been able to determine that he got the shot off in time. Or, if it was the other way around and the clock started late, the refs would have been able to check to see if Simmons got the shot off in 1.6 seconds.

Anyway, whether or not FGCU actually made that final shot, the bottom-line is that it’s very clear that Michigan State is not a good basketball team right now.

We told you that last week, but there were some promising signs on Sunday night. The most important? Eron Harris looked like he could end up being a go-to guy. He finished with 31 points and hit six threes, although his two missed throws late set up the ending. The Spartans need someone they can run offense through, among other things. If Harris can be that guy, it’s a big step for them.

UPDATE: Here’s what the officials had to say about the ending:

INTRODUCING CINDERELLA: Meet the FGCU Eagles

Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley, right, looks back at the bench as Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, left, watches the action in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 71-54. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
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Conference: Atlantic Sun

Coach: Joe Dooley

Record: 20-13 (8-6)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 171
RPI: 216
AP/USA Today: Unranked

Seeding: 16, likely headed to Dayton for the First Four

Names you need to know: F Marc-Eddy Norelia (17.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg), G Christian Terrell (12.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg), G Zach Johnson (11.2 ppg, 3.2 apg), G Julian DeBose (8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

Stats you need to know: FGCU entered Sunday averaging 77.0 points per game, shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three. Norelia is the headliner for this group, and he’s got help in the front court from players such as Antravious Simmons, Demetris Morant and Filip Cvjeticanin. On the perimeter Terrell and Johnson, who missed all of last season with a heart ailment and was no lock to return to the court, are the top scorers with the experienced DeBose having started all 32 games he’s played in. Also of note is the fact that FGCU is one of the nation’s best at defending the three, as opponents shot just 30.9 percent from deep on the season.

Big wins, bad losses: FGCU doesn’t have a single win against a team ranked in the Top 150 of the RPI, and four of their 20 wins came against non-Division I competition. Their best wins: a season sweep of Atlantic Sun regular season champion North Florida and a home win over UMass. As for the losses, FGCU was swept by Jacksonville and also suffered conference losses to Lipscomb and Stetson.

How’d they get here?: FGCU was the four-seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament, and they opened with a win over No. 5 Kennesaw State. That set up a semifinal matchup with UNF, and the Ospreys (who are highly reliant on the three) went ice cold from deep and FGCU won by 33 on the road. And with the two and three seeds being eliminated in the quarterfinals, FGCU hosted Stetson in the title game. FGCU won 80-78 in overtime, with a Zach Johnson blocked shot in the final seconds preserving the victory.

Outlook: Given the fact that the last FGCU team to reach the NCAA tournament did so much damage, some may assume that this group is on par with the 2012-13 team that reached the Sweet 16 and earned the nickname “Dunk City.” But that team played a far tougher schedule outside of the A-Sun, even picking up a win over that season’s ACC champion (Miami). Going to Dayton would give them a shot at winning a game in the tournament, but it’s tough to expect much beyond that.

How do I know you?: As mentioned above this is FGCU’s second NCAA tournament appearance, and the first trip was an incredibly fun one. In 2013 the Eagles beat No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State in Philadelphia before falling to No. 3 Florida in the Sweet 16. As for this particular team there are two connections to top-ranked Kansas. Head coach Joe Dooley was a long-time assistant of Bill Self’s before taking the FGCU job, and DeBose joined Kansas (as did SMU’s Nic Moore) for the World University Games in South Korea last summer.

FGCU senior guard joins Kansas’ World University Games roster

Florida Gulf Coast v Pittsburgh
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With Devonte’ Graham going down with a partially torn quad tendon, Kansas head coach Bill Self stated that he wanted to add another guard to his roster in advance of next month’s World University Games in South Korea. Saturday the coach did just that, with FGCU senior guard Julian DeBose being the addition according to the Lawrence Journal-World.

DeBose, who plays for former Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, averaged 11.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game for the Eagles in 2014-15. The 6-foot-4 guard shot 43.1 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from beyond the arc last season, and his addition gives the team some additional depth on the perimeter.

“He’s a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard who has been playing for Joe so he understands at least in theory what we are trying to do both offensively and defensively, Self told the Journal-World.

“Joe wanted us to take him all along,” Self added. “We decided to take our guys plus Nic (Moore, SMU). Then when Devonté got hurt (quad injury) we obviously needed to add somebody. He’ll be here today and be involved in everything starting tomorrow.”

With Graham and Brannen Greene (hip) out due to injury and Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine) unavailable, Self was in a position where he needed to add another piece on the perimeter for this trip. DeBose joins Moore, Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, LeGerald Vick, Evan Manning and Tyler Self as the guards headed to South Korea.

Before heading abroad the Jayhawks will play two exhibition games against Canada, the first of which being scheduled for Tuesday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

FGCU announces addition of former VCU power forward

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FGCU’s taken advantage of the transfer market in recent years, and on Friday the program announced the addition of another big man to Joe Dooley’s roster. Antravious Simmons, who played sparingly at VCU, has decided to transfer to the Atlantic Sun program. According to FGCU the Miami native will be eligible to compete at the end of the Fall 2015 semester.

“We’re excited about Antravious joining the program,” Dooley said in the release. “He’s a quality, high-character person that we want. He’ll be a great fit into our style of play.”

Simmons joins a program that will lose two front court players at the end of the 2014-15 season in Marcus Blake and Nate Hicks, with the latter being the team’s third-leading rebounder. Also of note is the fact that FGCU will also lose their second-best rebounder in wing Jamail Jones.

Simmons joins a front court that will include the likes of leading rebounder Marc-Eddy Norelia, Demetris Morant, Eric Moeller and Filip Cvjeticanin, who sitting out this season as a medical redshirt after undergoing back surgery during the offseason.

All three of FGCU’s early signees in the Class of 2015 are perimeter players, with those additions expected to help the Eagles begin life without current senior guards Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson.

Florida Gulf Coast suspends senior for three games

Jamail Jones
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Florida Gulf Coast took a hit to its starting lineup on Monday as head coach Joe Dooley announced that redshirt senior forward Jamail Jones has been suspended for three games.

The 6-foot-6 Jones will miss all three games of the school-hosted Gulf Coast Showcase, which includes a Monday night game against Marist. Jones was suspended for a violation of team rules.

Losing Jones will certainly hurt the Eagles as he recorded a double-double the first two games of the 2014-15 season and is averaging a team-high 9 rebounds per game to go along with 14 points per game.

This obviously won’t hurt Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun, which they are favored to win this season, but it will be interesting to see how they play without him for this stretch.