Basket or No Basket? What Happened in Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday Night?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Aren't sure of what really happened as the ball left Josh Newkirk's hand with time expiring? Don't worry, Shakin the Southland has you covered.

Alright everybody, lets take a deep breath as we try to explain to you what just happened...funny how this is coming from a guy who put a hole in his wall after the basket was counted and Clemson and Pittsburgh were heading to overtime. Now that the initial shock is over, let's go over what happened and see whether or not the correct call was made.

In case you missed it, with Clemson leading 67-65, the Tigers were attempting to inbound the ball with 2.7 seconds left to end the game and escape with their 20th victory of the season. What happened next will haunt me for the next several nights.

With about 1 second remaining on the 5-second count, Damarcus Harrison forced a pass to K.J. McDaniels. Let's stop right there for a second and show why the Tigers have nobody to blame but themselves for this. Both Damarcus Harrison and Brad Brownell have to realize that the Tigers had 1 timeout remaining and it needed to be used right there. I've heard a lot of people blame Harrison for this, but the responsibility for using that timeout falls on Brad Brownell.

The inbound pass went low and between McDaniels legs while it rolled to Josh Newkirk. Newkirk picked the ball up and for some inexplicable reason pump faked. He then rose up and nailed the bucket to send the game to overtime. Or did he? The referees went to the monitor to review the basket.

Let me end the suspense for everyone, and I know you aren't going to like hearing this, but the correct call was made. Before you all throw me out of a window, let me explain what happened.

We all saw the same replay 50 times. The backboard was clearly lighting up in red as the ball was still rolling off Newkirk's fingers. Game over. So I'm sure that everybody was as shocked as I was when the referees came over and counted the basket. Here was the problem. The referee called both coaches over and this is how that conversation went.

While it is required that the backboard clock and the official game clock be synchronized, the two were not as it appeared to be about a tenth of a second differential between the two. As a result, there was not enough sufficient video evidence to overturn the play and the basket would count.

Well that terminology didn't sit well with me. It was pretty clear that according to one clock, the shot didn't leave his hand soon enough while according to the other clock it did. This wasn't a question of whether or not there was enough evidence to overturn the call, this was a question of which clock is right.

So I did some digging and found my way to the official NCAA Basketball rules guide and after digging through about 150 pages, I found what I was looking for. According to section 13, subsection 2, article 4:

"In games with a 10th-of-a-second game clock display and where an official courtside monitor is used, the reading of zeros on the game clock is to be used to determine whether a try for goal, a shot-clock violation or a foul occurred before or after the expiration of time in any period. When the game clock is not visible, the officials shall verify the original call with the use of the red/LED light(s). When the red/LED light(s) are not visible, the sounding of the game-clock horn shall be utilized. When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands."

Unfortunately, there we have it. According to the rule book, the clock reading 0.01 on the video review overrules the lighting up of the backboard. The lights on the backboard will only be used in the instance where the game clock is not available. It appears that the referees made the correct call as the Tigers simply let one slip through their fingers on Saturday night.

Stay tuned to Shakin the Southland as we will have your coverage of Clemson Basketball as the tigers make their run through the ACC Tournament.

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