Men's Basketball

ESPN analyst saw two missed calls on Zion’s season-saving play. What UCF players said

Duke and Virginia leave Columbia with wins to advance

Duke and Virginia won their second round games to advance in the NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena Sunday March 24, 2019, in Columbia, SC.
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Duke and Virginia won their second round games to advance in the NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena Sunday March 24, 2019, in Columbia, SC.

Duke’s Zion Williamson rumbled into the paint like a freight train. UCF’s B.J. Taylor went sprawling on the floor.

Moments later, the Blue Devils freshman sensation was at the hoop, drawing a shooting foul on towering big man Tacko Fall, finishing the layup and setting up a play that might well have saved the Duke’s season Sunday night at the NCAA tournament.

But should the whistle have gone the other way? One ESPN analyst argues yes.

That in turn inspired some discussion.

In the UCF locker room after the game, there were some rumblings about calls, and when asked directly, both Taylor and Fall gave their version of events.

Taylor: “He got the ball at a spot he liked to get the ball. We had him going right. It was a close play, a block-charge play. They didn’t call it. He spun back to his left hand. Once he gets back to that left hand, he’s tough to deal with. ... It’s a close play. It’s a block-charge. They decided to call neither. So that’s the refs, that’s what they called. They didn’t call anything. That’s fine. Like I said, it was a good play by him, so give him a lot of credit.”

Fall: “I was just trying to make a play. Trying to alter his shot. Obviously I was in foul trouble. So I stayed there with my hands up. There was body contact. Could’ve gone either way. It went his way. There’s not much I could do.”

The play set up as unlikely a go-ahead sequence as one might imagine. Williamson’s layup cut the deficit to a point. He missed the free throw. R.J. Barrett put it back and Duke held on.

It almost didn’t happen, as Duke was down 3 with fewer than 30 seconds left, but one thing inspired Williamson to go for the drive.

“I looked at the clock. Honesty, I was going to shoot the 3, try to tie the game,” Williamson said. “But I heard Tre (Jones) go, “GO, GO TO THE BASKET.” So I went to the basket.

“It worked out.”







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