Clock error derails FGCU's near upset of MSU

Florida Gulf Coast fell just short against No. 13 Michigan State after an enormous clock operating error at the end of the game.

UPDATE - 1:00 p.m ET

The Big Ten has released a statement. It was indeed a referee that prematurely started the clock.

End Update

FGCU was trailing MSU, 78-77, with 1.6 seconds left on the clock and Christian Terrell in-bounding the ball on the Eagles' own baseline. He heaved an on-target full court pass to big man Antravious Simmons. But instead of the clock starting when the ball touched Simmons' hands as it should have, the clock began as soon as the ball left Terrell's hands. This caused the clock to reach 0.0 and the horn to sound as Simmons was catching the ball. Hearing the buzzer, Simmons abandoned the drawn up play and was forced to immediately toss up a shot.

“He was going to try to lay it in..." said FGCU head coach Joe Dooley. "As soon as he caught it he heard the horn so he flipped it.”

The referees then went the monitor as confusion swept over the crowd and teams in the Breslin Center. The cheerleaders had taken the floor but this game didn't quite seem over. In the end, the referees called the game, saying the play was not review-able.

"That he did not turn his-the referee did not have control of the clock. By rule, if the ball had gone in they could review," Dooley said. "If it didn’t, you can’t review it. But he caught the ball at zero so that’s…"

The statement made by referee Bo Boroski can be read below:

"A timing error occurred with 1.6 second remaining on the game clock. Since a timing error occurred, we are able to utilized the replay monitor. A stopwatch was used to determine if any time should remain on the game clock. Using a stopwatch, it was determined the ball was caught and released in 1.3 seconds, meaning if the shot would have gone in, it would have counted. After the miss there was no time remaining in the game, therefore ending the game. By rule the possession can not be replayed. Period."

But could it have been? According to another NCAA rule, yes.

And the question still remains, who was operating the clock at the time and prematurely started the timer? Boroski simply stated that four people have the ability to do so.

"Well so there's four ways for the game clock to start and stop. The three officials, and the timer on the sideline...all four of us have the capability."

According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, referee Lewis Garrison started the clock prematurely on the last play.

More fallout and reaction from the controversial ending is coming today, with Joe Dooley going on Outside the Lines on ESPN2 at 1 pm E.T. and a statement from the Big Ten Conference likely imminent.

Recap of the game and full video of Dooley post-game press conference can be found here:

FGCU Eagles Nest Top Stories