The end of regulation in Saturday’s game between USC and Georgia featured an unusual ruling by the officials.
Following Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s game-tying 3-point shot with 8.9 seconds remaining, the game clock did not stop as it was supposed to following a made field goal. An additional 4.5 seconds ran off before USC was given the ball.
But instead of resetting the game clock to 8.9 seconds, the officials set the clock to 4.5 seconds, essentially ruling USC used the other 4.4 seconds on their last attempt as time expired the first time. Bruce Ellington’s subsequent shot was blocked and the game went to overtime.
Why was USC given the time differential instead of resetting the clock to 8.9 seconds? And if they are simply adding back the 4.5 seconds USC lost, why was the ball awarded under Georgia’s basket instead of at halfcourt?
According to crew chief Anthony Jordan:
“With 8.9 seconds left, the clock was erroneously started during a deadball situation. The difference from 8.9 seconds, when the basket was scored, and the time the South Carolina player received the ball was 4.5 seconds. By rule, it was clearly a correctable-error situation. We put the ball back in play, giving South Carolina the 4.5 seconds it had lost when the clock erroneously ran. The ball was placed on the baseline at the point closest to where he initially received the ball.”
USC coach Frank Martin and Georgia coach Mark Fox said they weren’t sure whether the right ruling was made.
“I have no idea,” Martin said. “They’ve got bosses they answer to. I’m sure they’ll have conversations with their superiors. I’ve got no idea.”
- Patrick Obley