East Region No. 1 Duke managed to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive Sunday, as Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett both made key shots in the final 15 seconds to give the Blue Devils the 77-76 win over No. 9 UCF.
But in the case of both key plays, some have asked if Duke received a beneficial whistle. On Williamson’s drive to the basket, should there have been an offensive foul called on the freshman forward? Or did UCF’s B.J. Taylor embellish the contact? And did Tacko Fall, who fouled out on the play, bring his arms down as Williamson attempted the shot?
Fall was in the restricted area, so the best he could do on the play was raise his arms and hope to maintain verticality.
As for Barrett’s offensive rebound and put-back, there are some who think he got away with a push in the back of the UCF player.
And on the other side of the lane there was a rather clear hook and hold that was not called. This was a point of emphasis before the season began, due in large part to the elbow injury suffered by Purdue’s Isaac Haas during last year’s NCAA tournament.
In the case of Barrett’s “push,” it was worth the risk whether he pushed off or not. If a call is made Duke stops the clock trailing by one, and at worst would get the ball back down three if UCF made both free throws. And if no call is made and Barrett corrals the ball, he can attempt the layup that gives Duke the lead…which is exactly what happened.
You make the call: did the officials get these plays right?