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Wednesday, February 10, 2010
UConn-Syracuse ends on questionable call

By Andy Katz

A veteran official said late Wednesday it did not appear official John Cahill granted a timeout to Syracuse before the possession changed hands to Connecticut, in what was a critical call in a 65-65 game with 36.6 seconds left.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim called for a timeout as Orange point guard Scoop Jardine drove to the basket. Boeheim could be seen calling and signaling for the timeout before Jardine took a running shot. But the key part of the rule is when did Cahill grant the timeout? When play resumed Wesley Johnson was fouled by Stanley Robinson. Johnson made two free throws and the Orange led 67-65 with 30.4 seconds left. Syracuse won 72-67.

According to the veteran official, the rule he cited was: Rule 5, Section 10, Art. 4, page 93. The rule states: “The game clock and shot clock, if running, shall be stopped when an official: grants a coach’s or player’s visual or oral request for a time out." Rule 5, Section 12, Art. 1, page 95 adds: “No timeouts shall be granted: unless there is a player control by the requesting team." The official said you can also cite Rule 5, Section 13, Art. 1, on page 96. “A timeout shall be granted and charged after a player or head coach makes a visual or oral request and when a player of that team is in control of the ball."

The key word here is grant. Did Cahill grant the timeout before the possession changed hands? On replay it appeared he did not. This was a judgment call. But the official said if it was too close to call then the officials must go to the alternating possession arrow.

This is the second week in a row that the Big East had a questionable judgment call. Official Mike Kitts failed to make a possession known when he didn’t see the ball go out of bounds. No call was made, the officials went to the monitor to check why the shot clock went off but ultimately granted the possession to West Virginia over Louisville.

The call was correct upon further review because the ball did go off Louisville, but proper procedure wasn’t followed. If no call was made then the ball was supposed to go to the team with the alternating possession arrow and in this case it was Louisville.

The veteran official said this is a Big East officiating issue, reserved for the head of officials Art Hyland in the league, not the NCAA’s coordinator of officials John Adams.