You know when the commissioner of the Big East has to make a statement about the officiating after the game, the refs must have performed terribly:
"The Big East Conference acknowledges that two separate officiating errors occurred at the conclusion of the St. John's vs. Rutgers game," [Big East commissioner John Marinatto] said. "Both missed violations should have caused the game clock to stop and a change of possession to occur prior to the end of the game. Neither error is reviewable or correctable under NCAA playing rules."It's clear to see Justin Brownlee took multiple steps with the ball without dribbling, amounting to a travelling violation, and stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left, which should have stopped the clock. If the thousands of fans, commentators, and viewers around the country saw it, it's difficult to see how the three referees failed to see it.
It's more unfair that an obvious error like this one can't be corrected. There was more than two hours before the next Big East tournament game was scheduled to start, so it would have been easy enough to get the teams and officials out of the locker room to replay the last 1.7 seconds.
On top of that, Brownlee threw the basketball into the crowd, which could have been a technical foul. Aside from the fact that someone could have gotten seriously hurt if they got hit in the head, it was only a couple of weeks ago that a male cheerleader for Louisville threw the ball in the air with half a second left in the game. The refs called a technical foul, gave Pitt two free throws, and they had an attempt to tie the game with a desparation heave.
Overall, this missed call may not make a difference in the grand scheme of things. There's no way to say that Rutgers would have made a basket if they had another shot. Also, Rutgers was not going to make the NCAA tournament unless they won the Big East tournament, requiring them to win 3 more games, which would have been extremely unlikely. However, it's a shame that the Rutgers seniors have their careers end like this.
Ref head: St. John's end "unacceptable" [ESPN]
UPDATE 3/10/11: The three officials from yesterday's Rutgers-St. John's game have voluntarily withdrawn from the rest of the Big East Tournament.