A huge weekend in college basketball got off to a bizarre start on Saturday as Louisville watched a FIVE-point lead disappear in the last 30 seconds to lose on the road at West Virginia, 72-70.
The final 30 seconds saw some poor execution by the Cardinals, as they missed a key free throw and allowed two open threes by the Mountaineers in order to tie the game. But all the postgame talk will focus on the final play in which Preston Knowles missed a three pointer to win and then committed a bizarre foul with .6 seconds left to allow West Virginia to win the game from the line. Here is how it went down, courtesy of the great college blog Ballinisahabit ...
The angle used by ESPN isn't the greatest here, but from the video one can get a decent perspective on what happened. In the haste of a missed jumper by Knowles, he went after the rebound with his characteristic aggression. By the time he arrived at the spot, West Virginia's Trucky Bryant had already grabbed the rebound and was attempting to move forward to take a last second heave. The action to move forward caused the collision into Knowles, who was still reaching for the ball. Knowles was not totally in control, ran into Bryant and extended his arms, causing the ball to go out of bounds.
At that point, the referee was left with a split-second decision. He could either call a foul 75 feet from the basket, effectively giving the game to West Virginia, or with the ball headed out of bounds, make no call and give Louisville an attempt at a game-winning shot with less than a second to go. Neither of those options are perfect, but the referee probably made the only call he could. It was clearly a foul and while time/situation would dictate potentially swallowing the whistle, the ball going out bounds took away that option.
Its a tough way to end the season for Louisville's gritty Knowles. But March still provides the opportunity for better endings and if the rest of his senior season provides any indication, the brain freeze in Morgantown will not be the last we hear of Preston Knowles.
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