Michigan was on the verge of blowing a lead against Syracuse in the Final Four Saturday, but they benefited from controversial calls by the officials and held on to win 61-56.
The controversial call that stood out was a charging foul called on Brandon Triche with 19.2 seconds left in the game. Syracuse was down 58-56 at the time and Triche drove to the hole looking to tie the game. Just as Triche was elevating for a layup, Jordan Morgan appeared to shuffle into defensive position in front of him.
The referees called a charging foul on Triche, giving the ball to Michigan. Based on the NCAA’s charging vs. blocking rule, a blocking foul should have been called on Morgan.
Here is the applicable guideline from the NCAA Rules Committee:
Before the offensive player (with the ball) becomes airborne, the defender must have two feet on the floor, be facing the opponent and be stationary to draw a charge. Otherwise, it should be a blocking foul.
That wasn’t the only call to go in favor of Michigan in the final two minutes.
With Michigan up 53-49 and 1:40 left, a blocking foul was called on Michael Carter-Williams even though Tim Hardaway Jr. leaned his shoulder into the Orange guard:
26 seconds later, Carter-Williams was called for his fifth foul for putting his shoulder down on Hardaway Jr. after passing the ball:
The foul gave Michigan the ball and a foul put Spike Albrecht on the free-throw line, but he missed his attempt.
Michigan also benefited from a lane violation called on Syracuse following a missed Mitch McGary free throw with 48.7 seconds left. The violation was legitimate, but it’s not often you see it called (possibly because it’s an uncommon occurrence). McGary missed the free throw anyhow.
The calls didn’t entirely go against Syracuse. Triche drove to the basket with 50.2 seconds left and scored a layup, and Trey Burke was called for a foul on the play, giving Triche a free throw which he missed to keep it a 3-point game.
You cannot entirely blame the referees for the outcome of the game, but they certainly helped Michigan with their calls on several key plays down the stretch. You can definitely credit them for the assist in this one.
GIF via College Spun