Originally written March 16, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
For thirty-nine minutes and 58 seconds, the Alabama Crimson Tide and Creighton Bluejays fought to a near draw. Creighton held a 58-57 lead with 2.2 seconds left, and the Crimson Tide was going to get the last shot to try and win the game. Trevor Releford got the inbound pass from Andrew Steele, and after a crossover dribble pulled up for what would have been a game winning three as the clock expired. Instead, Releford’s shot was about four feet short of the rim thanks to a blatant foul on Creighton’s Josh Jones that was not called. You can see for yourself with the picture to the right. If that’s called, then Releford steps to the line with three shots to try and win the game with the Crimson Tide only down by a point. Releford was an 81% free throw shooter this season, so I think it is fair to say he hits at least two of the three shots and the Crimson Tide advances on to the Round of 32. Instead, the foul was not called and Alabama’s season ended with controversy. Releford was screaming for the call when he hit the deck but to no avail. Up until that point, it was a very well refereed and very well played game by two good basketball teams. Alabama was able to slow the game down and force Creighton to play their game. The Bluejays entered the game shooting 51% from the floor and averaging 80 points per game. The Crimson Tide’s swarming defense held them to 44% shooting and just 58 points. Creighton’s All-American Doug McDermott was held to 16 points, a full 7 points below his season average. Trevor Releford led the way for Alabama with 14 points and 4 assists. Trevor Lacey scored 13 points, but 12 of those came in the first half. He only attempted two shots in the second half. JaMychal Green put in 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in his final game wearing the Crimson Tide uniform. You make the call. The Crimson Tide took a seven point lead into the half, and stretched out their lead to as many as 11 points early in the second half. The Blue Jays made a run and tied the game as expected, but the Crimson Tide was able to stretch out their lead to seven at 50-43 with 8 minutes to go. Give credit to Creighton because once again they did not fold. From there, the Bluejays went on a 14-0 run capped off by Josh Jones three to give Creighton a 57-50 lead with under three minutes to play. It looked like Alabama was ready to pack it up and go home, but Andrew Steele responded with a clutch three to cut the lead to 57-53. Prior to that, Alabama had gone about four minutes without a point. A few possessions later, Nick Jacobs got a tip in off of a missed runner by Steele to pull Alabama within two with just under a minute left. After one Doug McDermott free throw, Creighton held a 58-55 lead with 30-seconds to go. A beautiful pass from Green to a cutting Andrew Steele got ‘Bama an easy layup to cut the lead to one point. Alabama fouled Josh Jones with eight seconds left in the game and he promptly missed both free throws to leave the door open for Alabama to win the game with a bucket. And then came the controversial no-call on the Releford three attempt that ends Alabama’s season. I hate to complain about the call, honestly because that takes away from Creighton, who played a really good game. Alabama played about as well as they could on offense. They hit seven three’s in the game and shot at a 41% clip from downtown, but still couldn’t pull it out. It was a well played game between both teams, but when it ends like it did it is tough to swallow, especially when it ends your team’s season. My main complaint is why there isn’t a lot of outrage from the media and fans alike? That’s all we heard yesterday when UNC-Asheville lost to Syracuse in a game full of questionable calls late. But, nobody cares unless it is the mid-major getting screwed. Congrats to Creighton. They have a hell of a basketball team, and now everybody gets what they want and that is North Carolina/Creighton in the round of 32. Doug McDermott vs. Harrison Barnes, and Alabama’s season ends on a missed call.
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