The Louisville Cardinals survived an upset scare with a little help from Luke Hancock’s acting abilities leading to a terrible call towards the end of the second half.
In the Cardinals first action since losing to the Duke Blue Devils, Louisville was taken to the wire by the Illinois State Redbirds in a 69-66 victory.
The Redbirds were led with two great performances by Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown. The pair gave Illinois State a 33-25 halftime lead combining for 27 of those first half points. Brown finished as the game’s leading scorer with 25 points to along with five rebounds, while shooting 50% from the field and a perfect 6 for 6 from the foul line. Carmichael finished with 20 points, nine rebounds while shooting 8 for 13 from the field.
Despite being down by eight points to start the second half, it took two and a half minutes for the Cardinals to tie the game. Using a 10-2 run to bring things even, it looked as if Louisville was about to run away with the game. Unfortunately foul trouble quickly put Peyton Siva on the bench with four fouls and suddenly the Cardinals momentum was lost.
The Redbirds took control of the lead again and with less than nine minutes remaining held a 57-51 advantage. After a timeout, Russ Smith stole the ball going the other way for a lay-up and two of his 24 points in the game. The ball was inbounded to Redbirds guard Johnny Hill who appeared to strike Louisville’s Hancock as he fell to the ground and an offensive foul was called. Officials reviewed the play to determine if a flagrant foul would be called only to see on the replay that Hancock was displaying his acting skills, diving to the ground despite no contact at all from Hill.
Unfortunately since the officials called it an offensive foul the play couldn’t be reversed so it remained Cardinals ball. No foul shots were awarded but the Cardinals would inbound underneath the Redbirds basket. Louisville inbounded the ball to Smith who rotated to the recently re-entered Siva, who drained a three cutting the lead to 57-56. After checking back into the game, Siva would score 10 of Louisville’s final 16 points finishing the game with 20 points and four assists.
The blown call was exactly what Louisville needed to get back into a game that was about to slip away. The worst part about it was the officials knew they were wrong but couldn’t do the right thing and give the ball back to Illinois State due to NCAA rule not allowing the usage of replay to overturn calls. This is something that needs to change in college basketball given the benefit of multiple camera angles with the usage of replay. If a team does nothing wrong, they shouldn’t be punished like the Redbirds were. Instead Hancock should be punished for hurting the integrity of the game for pretending to be hit when no contact was made.
You can’t fault the officials on this one, in real time and given the angles they were standing on the court, any time a player swings his elbows and an opposing player goes down it’s going to look like he got hit. Why a month away from entering 2013 the NCAA isn’t smart enough to advance itself into allowing officials to reverse in-game mistakes when it’s clearly shown to every one with a video screen is beyond me.
Louisville might have one this game without Hancock faking injury, the Redbirds might have also pulled off the upset. We’ll never know.
What we do know is, it’s time to allow replay to help correct in-game errors.