HOUSTON (AP) For Gonzaga, the timing could not have been worse.
Coach Mark Few told The Associated Press the NCAA called to inform him officials blew the call on a 10-second violation that went against the Bulldogs late in Syracuse’s come-from-behind win in the Sweet 16.
The turnover came with 1:17 left and Gonzaga leading 60-59. Josh Perkins skipped a pass for Kyle Dranginis into the front court, and Syracuse’s Trevor Cooney deflected it back across the line, where Dranginis grabbed it again.
Refs called a 10-second violation but the 10-second limit in the backcourt should have reset once a player touched the ball in the front court.
Here’s video of the play:
Syracuse scored the last four points as part of a 15-3 run to end the game for a 63-60 win. The Orange went on to another come-from-behind victory, two days later against Virginia, and is in the Final Four with a semifinal against North Carolina set for Saturday.
The NCAA declined comment.
In Houston for a national coaching convention that coincides with the Final Four, Few told AP it was “big” of the NCAA to admit the mistake, though he wonders how the game might have played out had the call not gone against the Zags.
Syracuse did not score on the possession after the turnover, but ended up with the go-ahead basket with 22 seconds left, then two free throws after Gonzaga came up empty on its next possession.
“If you score there, you’re up by (three or) four, and if they subsequently go down and miss, they’d have fouled,” Few said.
The coach said there were no hard feelings. He heard the grumbling about Gonzaga’s five turnovers over the last 6 minutes of the game; in reality, the Zags only should’ve been charged with four.
“It shows you, there’s so much luck and stuff involved,” Few said. “There are all these factors, and people want to dive into this or that. But really, it’s just an unfortunate deal. … But I think it’s probably good in our sport to say, `Hey, we screwed up.’ I didn’t make all the perfect calls in that game, either.”