St. Johns survived against Rutgers in Wednesday's Big East tournament, but not without some serious help from the referees. The Red Storm will play Syracuse at noon on Thursday, but until then, much of the talk will center on the inexplicable blown call by the refs that kept Rutgers from getting a chance to tie or win.
Video comes courtesy of Mocksession.com:
Here's what happened: with just four seconds to go and St. Johns clinging to a two-point lead, Rutgers threw a full-court pass that St. Johns intercepted. Game over, right? Except that St. Johns' Justin Brownlee took the steal and went out of bounds, then threw the ball into the stands, all with time left on the clock. And the refs completely ignored it.
You can clearly see that Brownlee's out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left, and throwing the ball could have been a technical, but again, the refs ignored it all. As soon as the clock hit 0:00, they rushed off the court and into the bowels of Madison Square Garden.
And you're not going to believe this, but Rutgers coach Mike Rice was royally pissed off by all this, and you have to admit: he had a pretty good argument. But the officials were nowhere to be found. All of which leaves us asking: How does this happen in 2011?
It's one thing for the refs to miss a call; they're human. But it's a lot worse for them to ignore obvious replay evidence that proves they missed the call, and should have given Rutgers another shot. Isn't that why they have all those little TVs courtside? If the refs had been around, the rules would have allowed replay review. Even St. Johns' Steve Lavin called the refs "keystone cops" in his post-game interview.
And even if they'd left the court... Since they escaped to the locker room, there's nobody that can pull them back out? Is the referees' locker room some secret chamber that seals them off from visitors for the rest of the night? It makes no sense. And it ruined what was otherwise a good game, and could have given us a pretty amazing ending.
Instead, we're talking about lazy officials, and a blown call that overshadowed all of it. So when you think of it that way, it was obviously Rutgers' loss, but really, it's kind of a buzzkill for everyone.