Officials could face Sun Belt suspension
Three officials could face a suspension for failing to call a technical foul on Louisiana-Lafayette for having six players on the court prior to Elfrid Payton's game-winning layup in Lafayette's 72-70 victory over Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Ky., Thursday night.
Mike Wood, the Sun Belt's coordinator of officials, watched the video of the final possession Thursday night and could see there were six Ragin' Cajuns who checked into the game.
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Wood told ESPN.com that he received a call from the game site asking if they could call a technical after the game ended. But Wood said it wasn't a correctable error.
But the officials could have stopped the play before Payton's layup and whistled a technical if they had counted the six red jerseys on the court.
"There's no question there are six on the court," Wood said. "You can't get around that. We will review it and determine what we're going to do next."
Wood said the three game officials -- Brad Gaston, Roger Ayers and Reinaldo Acosta -- are veteran officials. Wood said Ayers officiates in the Sun Belt, ACC, SEC and Big East. Gaston officiates in the Sun Belt and C-USA, while Acosta officiates in the Sun Belt and Atlantic Sun.
"This wasn't a bunch of rookies," Wood said. "This is a good crew."
Wood said that it is within his jurisdiction that officials could sit for a game or more. Wood said that the scorekeeper should have also alerted that six players checked into the game.
There's no question there are six (players) on the court. You can't get around that. We will review it and determine what we're going to do next.” -- Mike Wood, Sun Belt's
coordinator of officials
Wood said he spoke with the crew, as well as Western Kentucky athletic director Ross Bjork, and no one from the Hilltoppers saw the six players on the court.
"There are a whole bunch of times where there are six or seven guys on the court and it is technically a violation of the rule," Wood said. "You can blow the whistle and stop the play. But you can't go to the monitor and do it retroactively."
Retiring Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters told ESPN.com Thursday night that he was told that the sixth player isn't involved in the play. But when watching the video you can see that no one is essentially involved in the play as Payton takes the inbound pass and dribbles through traffic before getting to the rim.
"This probably happens more than we realize," Waters said. "Coaches are on the court, too. If the official had stopped it then it upsets the flow of the final seconds of the game. But we wish it wouldn't have happened."
The loss dropped the Hilltoppers to 1-2 in the Sun Belt and 5-11 overall. Louisiana-Lafayette moved to 2-0 in the Sun Belt, 8-8 overall.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.
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