in what was a pretty sloppy game all around -- , who were, well, not great. At best, you could say they were simply a little too whistle-happy, never allowing either team to get into any real rhythm (neither team shot better than 36 percent) thanks to a total of 44 fouls on just 73 possessions.
At worst, you could say they were downright awful.
To be clear, there were questionable calls that went against -- and benefited -- both teams all night. But perhaps the most costly call came with less than a minute to play and UNC leading 66-65. After Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski knocked a rebound loose from Kennedy Meeks, the Zags’ Killian Tillie wound up in a tussle for the ball with Meeks. It was called a jump-ball. One problem: Fans circulated this photo from the CBS broadcast, which shows Meeks’ hand out of bounds during the battle for possession while the ball is clearly touching his legs.
Pretty obviously, that should’ve been Gonzaga’s ball. Instead, UNC retained possession and got a bucket from Isaiah Hicks to make the score 68-65 with 26 seconds left. Gonzaga turned the ball over on its next possession, leading to a Justin Jackson dunk with 12 seconds left to make the score 70-65, ending the game for all intents and purposes.
The NCAA said the play was not reviewable.
“I had no idea,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I just, from my angle it didn’t look like it was a situation where there was an out-of-bounds situation or I else I would have called for a review.
“So nobody made me aware of it or I certainly would have within the last minute there or 2 minutes,” he said. “So that’s tough. It’s tough to hear. But, you know, that’s just the way it goes.”
Of course, there is nothing saying Gonzaga would’ve scored even had it been awarded possession. The bottom line is North Carolina made the plays down the stretch and the Zags didn’t. But there’s no debating that this was, indeed, a missed call. And a big one at that.