The wild ending to the Wichita State/Illinois State game on Sunday night just got a bit wilder, even after the buzzer.
In a release, the Missouri Valley Conference reprimanded the three-man officiating team of David Hall, Gerry Pollard and Paul Janssen for incorrectly awarding two late technical foul shots to the wrong player in the Shockers 68-67 victory over the Redbirds.
Following a flagrant I call on Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael for, intentionally or not, kicking Tekele Cotton on a rebound, the crew awarded the shots to the Shockers’ Cleathony Early, who sank both free throws. Wichita State trailed 67-60 at that point and Early would hit a three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to give Gregg Marshall’s squad the win, capping the comeback.
A replay revealed Cotton was kicked, not Early.
The statement did not say how the officials were punished.
Ok, hindsight being what it is, this wouldn’t have changed the game. Illinois State still allowed Wichita State to score eight points in the final 36 seconds to climb back in and get a road victory. But it does raise some eyebrows.
Why? Because Early shoots 80.5 percent from the free throw line. Cotton? He shoots 58.6 percent. That’s a pretty large discrepancy.
So maybe it wasn’t the deciding factor, but things might’ve been altered had it been Cotton toeing the line with his free throw history, and not Early.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten