At first glance, it appeared James Webb III had given Boise State an incredible overtime win when he buried a fade away three-pointer as the buzzer expired. Boise State inbounded the ball with 0.8 seconds on the clock and as you can see in this slow motion replay, the ball is clearly out of Webb's hands before the clock hits 0.0.
Slow-motion video of James Webb III's 3-pointer to beat Colorado State that was later called off. pic.twitter.com/2RPiWizl14— Matt L. Stephens (@MattStephens) February 11, 2016
Game over, right? Wrong.
While there is no dispute Webb got the shot off in time, referees determined the clock started too late. Instead of getting the shot off at 0.7 seconds like it appears, referees broke out a stopwatch and timed the play by hand. By doing that, they determined Webb took 1.2 or 1.3 seconds to get the shot off.
Statement from official Dave Hall regarding the end of the first OT between Boise State vs. CSU. pic.twitter.com/Iv9MDfbnc8— Matt L. Stephens (@MattStephens) February 11, 2016
On Friday, the Mountain West finally admitted it got the call wrong.
The continued investigation has now concluded the one replay angle from the Opposite Baseline Camera that was utilized by the game officials was playing at just under full speed when aired by television and subsequently ingested by the replay system. Thus, the embedded stopwatch outpaced the video and led to a false reading.
The outcome of this subsequent review determined the Boise State player most likely released the shot just prior to the 0.8 second threshold and thus the shot should have counted.
The initial tactic was strange, but not completely unheard of. ESPN timed it and got 0.7 seconds. Others got far below 0.8 seconds as well.
Just for kicks, I stopwatched the Webb shot three times, and got 0.62, 0.66 and 0.68 seconds from catch to approximate release— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) February 11, 2016
Regardless of the exact time, it seems unfathomable that anyone who watched that play could conclude that shot took 1.2 or 1.3 seconds. The entire conclusion is puzzling and appears to have cost Boise State a win as the Broncos would eventually lose in double overtime.
Boise State head coach Leon Rice was equally puzzled but the turn of events.
"I've never seen anything like it, I don't think we can just make up timing rules," Rice said after the game. "Hopefully the conference can explain it to me, because I guess I'm ignorant to what you can do and what you can't do."