When Iowa State took on Kansas last night, there was a lot riding on the line for the Cyclones. A possible birth into the NCAA tournament, the third longest home winning streak in the nation, and a shot at revenge were all at stake for Iowa State.
All three of those things were shot down by Elijah Johnson and his Jayhawk teammates. Johnson’s 39 points and amazing, cold-blooded, late game plays led to a Kansas comeback win in overtime.
The only thing I forgot to mention, was the role the referees played in that comeback by the Jayhawks.
With the loss last night, Iowa State is now right in the thick of the bubble for the NCAA tournament. A win would have possible solidified the Cyclones resume, but that did not happen, in large part to the officials.
The entire game, the officials were inconsistent both ways. They were making terrible calls and no calls on the obvious. The final minute however, they seemed to turn in the Jayhawks favor and eventually won the game for Kansas.
Iowa State seemed to have the game in hand as they were up seven, but Johnson hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to four. Then the first mistake the officials made occurred. Jeff Withey, Kansas’ star center fouled Korie Lucious to foul out of the game. The only problem is, the officials said the foul was on Kevin Young who immediately raised his hand when the whistle was blown to try and keep Withey in the game and it worked. The foul was clearly on Withey and the refs just missed the call badly. Withey was then able to play in overtime before getting his “6th” foul with the game pretty much in hand for Kansas.
The only reason Withey got to play in overtime was because of another bad piece of officiating. With time winding down and Kansas down two, Johnson drove the lane and ran over Iowa State’s Georges Niang for an apparent charge. The refs did not call anything as Johnson had missed the runner, as the refs had decided they were going to swallow their whistles in the final seconds.
Or were they? Johnson managed to fight for the rebound and was in a battle for the ball on the ground with Niang when the refs blew the whistle for a hold on Niang. A terrible call, in the first place, it wasn’t a foul, but how do you go from making a no call on a block/charge in the final seconds to calling a touch foul that was a lot less obvious?
The refs went from deciding to let the players decide the game in the final 10 seconds to letting themselves decide the game in the final five seconds. The refs need to officiate from the tip to the buzzer. There is no such thing as swallowing the whistle. Every call has equal importance no matter what point they come at. Iowa State could have possibly lost their chance at the NCAA tournament because of the poor officiating at the end of regulation that allowed the game to go into overtime.
It is a flat out disgrace for the NCAA to have to see this and everyone is speaking out about it.
Iowa State didn’t just lose the game last night, they could have lost their chance at every team’s goal for the postseason and it was in large part because of the referees.