Michigan State Basketball: Spartans beat Florida Gulf Coast on controversial last play

Check out the details of Michigan State basketball’s crazy win over Florida Gulf Coast in East Lansing.

Michigan StateSpartans

78

Florida Gulf CoastEagles

77

Where do we begin with this one? Well, for starters, this was a great game between the Michigan State Spartans and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. We should be talking about how a pesky Florida Gulf Coast team went into the Breslin Center as a 14.5-point underdog and took the Spartans to the brink. We should be talking about how Eron Harris looked great scoring a team-high 31 points.

Unfortunately, we are left to discuss a human error and an atrocious clock management situation.

Florida Gulf Coast tied the game with 38 seconds left. On the next possession, Cassius Winston hit the go-ahead free throw for Michigan State. A few possessions later it came down to Florida Gulf Coast under their own basket, having to go the length of the floor to score.

With 2.4 seconds left FGCU attempted to inbound the ball, only to have it knocked back out of bounds by Miles Bridges. This took 0.8 seconds off the clock. This error alone was up for discussion but regardless it was not reviewed and the team formally known as Dunk City had the ball again with 1.6 seconds left.

Florida Gulf Coast attempted a full court pass to Antravious Simmons, but by the time the ball reached his hands the horn sounded and the time expired. The entire sequence can be found below.

Although it would be presumed that the clock operator made this error, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports that the mistake was actually on the referee on the baseline closest to the in-bounder. In this case, that was Lewis Garrison.

Following the mistake, ESPN’s Andy Katz reported an explanation from official Bo Boroski.

In it Boroski stated the following, “A timing error occurred with 1.6 seconds remaining on the game clock. Since a timing error occurred, we are able to utilize the replay monitor. A stopwatch was used to determine if any time should remain on the game clock. Using a stopwatch, it was determined the ball was caught and released in 1.3 seconds, meaning if the shot would have gone in, it would have counted. After the miss there was no time remaining in the game, therefore ending the game. By rule the possession can not be replayed. Period.”

Later, Big Ten Associate Commissioner Rick Boyages released a statement regarding the incident on Monday.

“While the on-court officials and Michigan State timekeeper have the ability to start and stop the clock, after a complete review of the timing error on the game’s final play with 1.6 seconds remaining, it was confirmed that a game official improperly set the clock in motion via his Precision Timing belt pack. The subsequent adjudication of rules, allowing for use of the courtside video monitor and a hand-held digital stopwatch to determine whether the shot was released prior to expiration, and if there was any time remaining in the game, were properly administered.”

It can be argued that Simmons was affected by the premature buzzer. It seems as though he should have had more time to get off a shot before the buzzer went off. Fans have argued that maybe they should have just replayed this play. Regardless, Florida Gulf Coast was not awarded this opportunity and the Spartans were able to prevail 78-77 in the craziest moment of the college basketball season thus far.

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