FGCU’s last-second prayer foiled by NCAA rule

The attempt was oh-so close to becoming one of the top plays of the young college basketball season. But one-tenth of a second — and NCAA rule — prevented Florida Gulf Coast from forcing a third overtime Tuesday at South Florida.

After a wild, back-and-forth night at the Sun Dome, the Eagles had one last chance to extend the drama with 0.3 seconds left. Guard Jamail Jones heaved a full-court lob to forward Chase Fieler, who caught the pass mid-jump and sent FGCU’s bench into frenzy, after his shot rattled through the net before the buzzer to tie the score at 68.

But the celebrations, and hopes for a can-you-believe-this third overtime, were short-lived.

Correctly, officials ruled the basket was invalid because it came with less than 0.4 seconds left, when only a tip-in can occur. Photos of the final play show Fieler’s shot indeed beat the buzzer, but as the Eagles learned, this is a rule with no gray area.

So instead of playing on – thanks to a miraculous catch-and-shoot play fit for highlight reels — FGCU fell to 5-5.


You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.