With 1.2 seconds left and Creighton trailing San Diego State 57-56 in Sunday’s Elite Eight contest, the Bluejays fired the ball the length of the court looking for some desperation. The ball tipped out of bounds, and it appeared there was 0.2 or 0.3 seconds left when it hit the ground.
However, upon a lengthy review, officials, who pulled out a stopwatch, deemed play to be over and awarded San Diego State with the win, sending it to the Final Four. Afterwards, the NCAA explained that somewhat controversial decision.
“The officials reviewed the timing of the final play of the San Diego State-Creighton game and determined the clock did not start when it was initially touched on the inbounds pass,” the NCAA started in a statement, via Omaha World-Herald’s Joel Lorenzi. “The crew used the embedded clock within the DVSport replay system and it was ruled the clock hit zero before the ball touched out of bounds, thus ending the game.”
This play came after another similarly controversial call moments before. With time ticking down and the game tied at 56 apiece, Aztecs guard Darrion Trammell worked his way to the top of the lane for a floater, and officials tagged a foul on the trailing Bluejays guard Ryan Nembhard.
Trammell missed the first free throw, then made the second. That preceded the final sequence that took several minutes to sort out.
“It’s a tough feeling,” Nembhard said. “You work so hard all year, and it comes down to a play like that, I don’t know. I think we could have done a little bit more to make it a game that didn’t have to go down to that, but it’s a tough way to lose.”
So, San Diego State moves on to face cinderella Florida Atlantic in next week’s Final Four in Houston. Creighton finishes the year at 24-13.