The game-winning play for Oregon State contained two officiating errors, but the Pac-12 Conference would not accept Lorenzo Romar’s laments on the episode that likely did in UW’s NCAA tourney chances.
Despite video evidence to the contrary, the Pac-12 Conference issued a statement Thursday saying the final play of Oregon State’s 82-81 win over Washington was handled properly. Prior to his game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, Stephen Thompson Jr. traveled, and got off at least one dribble from the in-bounds pass before the Gill Coliseum game clock was started with 3,3 seconds remaining.“It was determined that the shot clock timing was handled appropriately by the game officials and the clock operator,” according to the statement. “While it was questioned whether the Oregon State player should have been called for traveling prior to the final shot, traveling is a judgment call. Traveling is a non-reviewable judgment call.”
It was reported by ESPN that UW coach Lorenzo Romar had a formal protest with the league, but the league said it had no formal protest policy. Romar told The News Tribune that he did call to complain.
Since Thompson’s shot left his hands with 0.7 seconds left, the clock delay could have provided the time difference. Game officials reviewed the replay after the buzzer and said the shot was good.
There was no chance for a reversal of the outcome, but there was at least a chance for a little justice.
“The whole point is that you’re talking about a potential NCAA tournament berth,” Romar told the News Tribune. “You’re talking about kids busting their tail, playing their tails off, giving it everything they have, like both teams did.
“But when something like that happens . . . it’s not even about discussing if the clock started late, or if there was a travel. It’s not even about that. That’s a foregone conclusion. I’m sure those involved saw that, OK, yeah, there was a travel. OK, yeah, the clock . . . that was just pretty cut and dry.
“The point is that it’s just difficult to see if it’s that blatant, that that could have something to do with potentially ending our NCAA tournament chances.”
The Huskies are 16-12 overall and 8-8 in Pac-12 play, which means that even beating Oregon Sunday and Washington State Wednesday at home in the regular-season final is unlikely to provide them the boost to get into the 68-team tourney field as an at-large team. They would have to win the Pac-12 tourney to gain a berth.
“There were obviously some mistakes,” Romar said. “So to have these guys fight like that and then come up empty is just hard.”