FGCU’s upset bid over Michigan State ends on clock blunder


On Sunday, controversy filled Breslin Student Events Center on the campus of Michigan State when the home team Spartans squeaked out a one-point victory over the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.

With 1.6 seconds remaining, down by one, Florida Gulf Coast inbounded the ball with an opportunity to win the game. The Eagles, though, had to go the entire length of the court to get it. When the referee's whistle blew and the ball became live, FGCU sent a Hail Mary pass down the court which successfully found one of the team's players — however, the clock expired and the buzzer sounded even before the Eagles player touched the ball.

After a brief discussion among the referees, the game was ruled over. Head official Bo Boroski explained the thinking:

Yes, the FGCU player missed the game-winning attempt anyway, so even if the clock was properly timed you could say it wouldn't have mattered. But FGCU has a legitimate gripe that the sound of the buzzer could create an unfair mental distraction for its player and contributed to why he missed.

Still, FGCU head coach Joe Dooley seemed to accept the decision. “The referees played the rule, which they have to,” he said. “I thoroughly understand that.”

A head-scratching moment indeed.

“If that try is released after the 1.6, we are going to wave it off,” Boroski said. “If that try is released before the 1.6, we are going to count it. It was determined it was released before the 1.6. We were prepared to count it. It did not go in, and using the stopwatch, we didn’t need to put any time back on the clock because it had expired.”