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12 February 2008

'Cats fall to Hoyas on dubious call

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/12/2008 02:53:00 AM

Georgetown 55
Villanova 53
(box score)
ESPN video recap

Villanova: 14-9 (4-7 BE, 3-1 B5)
Georgetown: 20-3 (10-2 BE)

Next game: at St. John's, 02/15 at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats struggled through one of their ugliest games of the year to find themselves in a position to knock off the #8 Georgetown Hoyas at the game's end, only to have their hopes dashed by perhaps the most questionable call by a referee I have ever seen in any sporting event.

With the game tied with 30 seconds to play, Villanova had the ball. Scottie Reynolds killed 20 seconds of clock and began his drive to the basket. On his way, he drew significant contact with the Hoya defenders, but no foul was called. As he attempted to pass the ball back out to the perimeter, the Hoyas got some hands on the pass and the ball rolled toward the sideline.

Georgetown's Jon Wallace finally gained possession with just a few seconds left and started dribbling along the sideline, 80 feet from the Villanova basket. After Wallace appeared to step out of bounds, the official Bob Donato threw up his hand and blew the whistle, calling a blocking foul on Corey Stokes with one-tenth of one second remaining on the clock.

With Villanova in the double-penalty, Wallace sank both free throws to ice the game for the Hoyas. (After me made the first free throw, he should have intentionally missed the second, which would have given the Wildcats even less of an impossible chance to win the game.)

The foul called on Stokes was definitely of the phantom variety. There was little to no contact, and any contact was initiated by Wallace's forearm as he pushed Stokes from his path. With under a second on the clock and Wallace's head down, 75 feet from the basket, there was no chance Georgetown could have scored without a foul called.

Another issue was why more time was not puck back on the clock, as Wallace either stepped out of bounds or the referee's whistle had blown with more time than 0.1 second remaining.

The call was instantly and persistently derided by all three of ESPN's announcers. As color man Jay Bilas pointed out, there was far, far more contact on Reynolds's drive to the basket than on Sapp's dribble along the sideline.

You can watch a video of the game's closing seconds below in the embedded YouTube player:

I would hope that Villanova would lodge an official protest with the Big East Conference regarding this foul call.

On the one hand, Villanova played a top-10 team to a draw on its home court, and was robbed of overtime and a possible victory by a foul call not one in a 100 referees would make. On the other hand, Villanova did not play especially well, and it was a miracle the 'Cats were even in the game at the end.

Villanova struggled immensely to score, especially in the second half. The Wildcats connected on just 14 field goals in the entire game, and missed 19 straight shots in the second period.

If you'd like to read more about the intricacies of the actual game, check out the Let's Go Nova live blog we ran during the contest.

Congratulations to reader "BPeach01" for most closely predicting the game's final score.

Next up for Villanova is a trip Saturday night to Madison Square Garden in New York to take on the struggling St. John's Red Storm.

On to the player grades. "READ MORE" below for player performance grades and analysis.

  • Malcolm Grant (DNP)

    The dramatic Malcolm Grant saga continues. The talented guard was dressed on the bench with the team, but once again saw no action whatsoever, for no known reason. If there is a good reason for his benching (and one would hope there is), Jay Wright needs to come out and say what the reason is. The silence, at this point, is not good for anyone. Despite rumors this weekend that Grant already decided to transfer, Grant was suited up and traveled with the team. That was the good news. The bad news for Wildcat fans is that the sharpshooting Grant was withheld from a game where Villanova missed 19 straight shots. Stay tuned this week as we hopefully learn more.
    Grade: DNP

  • Scottie Reynolds (S, 39 min)

    Reynolds totally carried the Wildcats on his back Monday night, and if not for that horrendous call at the end, he may have even willed them to victory. Scottie scored 24 points on 6-13 shooting, including a decent 2-5 performance from behind the three-point arc. Reynolds was an excellent 10-13 from the foul line. It's really a shame that Reynolds had to account for 43 percent of the Wildcat field goals while playing less than 20 percent of the team's court minutes; someone else on the team needs to step up offensively when second-option Fisher is struggling. It was nice to see Reynolds get up for a dunk on a fast break tonight. If I am not mistaken, that was his first-ever dunk in a Villanova game.
    Grade: A

  • Dante Cunningham (S, 29 min)

    Cunningham just missed a double-double, scoring 9 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Hoyas. He only managed one field goal, however. Cunningham picked up where he left off against Seton Hall at the foul line, shooting 7-8 from the stripe tonight. He seemed to hold his own in the paint on both ends of the floor, and in general it was an encouraging performance from Cunningham.
    Grade: B

  • Corey Fisher (S, 27 min)

    Fisher turned in one of the all-time worst shooting performances I have ever seen in a single basketball game. You may want to sit down for this: Fisher shot an astonishing 1-16 from the field and 0-6 from the three. The fans they pull from the stands for halftime contests to win scholarships and car leases are more accurate than that. It was good to see Fisher, ever the gunslinger, try to shoot his way out of a slump, but sometimes enough is enough, especially when many of the shots were badly contested and of questionable discretion. Fisher also led the team in turnovers, with 3. His team-high 4 assists were the lone bright spot of Fisher's night and the only thing saving his grade from the dreaded "F." Fisher is a good player who will certainly improve upon his next outing, so look for a bounce back against the Red Storm in New York.
    Grade: D-

  • Dwayne Anderson (S, 27 min)

    Anderson started his second straight game and showed why he has earned the increased minutes. His hustle was apparent in all aspects of the game, and he co-led the team in rebounds, with 10. Anderson also notched 1 assist and 1 steal and committed no turnovers. After scoring 13 points and hitting the game-winning three against Seton Hall on Saturday, Anderson cooled off significantly in Washington. Anderson shot 3-9, including 0-4 from the three, to score 9 points. Anderson is playing well, and his size and athleticism are useful for the Wildcats. If Anderson can turn himself into a bigger offensive weapon, he would bring the total package.
    Grade: B-

  • Casiem Drummond (S, 21 min)

    Drummond struggled to put the ball in the hole, shooting 0-4 from the field and 1-2 from the line. He managed to grab 5 rebounds and did not get pushed around all that much by Hibbert.
    Grade: C-

  • Antonio Pena (20 min)

    Pena shot 0-2 from the field to score just 2 points Monday night. What happened to the flashes of offensive firepower he showed earlier in the year? Pena grabbed 3 rebounds and committed 2 turnovers. He led the team in steals, with 2.
    Grade: C-

  • Corey Stokes (18 min)

    Stokes started off strong with a couple of buckets, but his shooting struggles continue. If not for the dramatic Malcolm Grant plot, Stokes's woes from the three-point line would be the official mystery of the year. As the announcers mentioned on Monday, many scouts regarded Stokes as the best high-school shooter in the nation last year. Tonight, Stokes shot 3-7 from the field and 1-5 from behind the arc to score 7 points. He had 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and a steal. It was not a very good game from Stokes, but you can't fault him for the foul at the end, simply because that foul should never have been called.
    Grade: D+

  • Shane Clark (14 min)

    Clark played 14 minutes and was totally ineffective. He was bad on offense, air-balling his only shot, a wide-open three point attempt at a crucial juncture in the game. He was even worse, however, on defense, allowing the Hoyas several easy looks. It's a shame to say this, considering Clark is an upperclassman and a captain, but he really should not be seeing the court at all these days.
    Grade: F

  • Reggie Redding (5 min)

    Redding missed all 3 of his shots and contributed nothing else to the box score but a turnover. This team is really missing Grant on the floor.
    Grade: D-

  • Incomplete grades: Frank Tchuisi (0+ min)

  • Did not play: Malcolm Grant (CD), Jason Colenda (CD).

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At 9:18 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous todd said...

Jay Wright does not owe you an explanation for why Malcolm isn't playing. It's obvious that it is not related to basketball at this point, so if he wanted it to be public it would. Satisfying upset bloggers that have an obsession with Malcolm is the least of Jay's concerns right now.

As for the game, you have to applaud the defensive effort, as ugly as the game was. Think about it this way... if Corey Fisher goes 2-16 we most likely take down a top 10 team on their own court.

At 10:02 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst call ever. Not worst shooting ever (remember rutgers?) but horrible.AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This team, at least, is showing signs of improvement. Think this way- if we win the rest of our games we will win the national championship!

At 10:07 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Dorion said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:22 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Bill said...

Worst game ever????

I think it may have been our best defensive effort to date. As you describe at a minimum this game should have gone into OT, if not ended with Scotty on the line.

When Corey Fisher learns to kick the ball out when he is defended by two or three big guys in the paint, we will win many more games!

If GT can't do any better against us in their own house, they DO NOT want to see us in the Garden; with little luck we will see them there...

Hats off to Dwayne Anderson for another great effort! Cunningham and Anderson are becoming the dynamic Duo!

As far as Grant is concerned I trust Jay's judgment.

At 11:00 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous JA said...

Certainly an encouraging sign for the team despite losing, holding Georgetown to 55 points is really impressive. I agree with Bill a couple more kick-outs here and there and this team will score some more points - just enough to start winning again.

At 11:03 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Headline to this story should be "Cats fall to Hoyas on 20 consecuitve missed dubious field goals."

How about a little integrity, people?

At 4:50 PM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous penahater#1 said...

that wasnt even close to a foul!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!STOKES DIDNT EVEN LAY A HAND ON HIM, AND THEIR WAS NO BODY CONTACT FROM STOKES. Pena didnt have that bad bad a game, but certainly NOT a good one !!!!!

At 4:55 PM, February 12, 2008, Blogger garretthill said...

This was a very ugly game that Villanova should have never been in. But you can't take away the fact that they were in the game until the phantom foul call.

In any case, the Cats still have a long, long way to go to become a team worthy of competeing for a Big East title and better yet a National Championship.

On a slightly seperate matter, I don't listen to or for that matter take in to account much that is said on sports radio stations in Philly. But, if there is one guy that I would consider knowledgeable, its Jody MacDonald on 950am. My friend told me he mentioned something yesterday before the game that he heard Malcolm may transfer....Don't know how reliable the comment was on in what context it was said.

It would not surprise me if he did, but I certainly would be disappointed if he did. I think he has the POTENTIAL (not as much as some on this blog) to be a key contributor to this program in the future and I think it would be a mistake for him to leave.

At 5:10 PM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous imisskylelowry said...

Here's the explanation of the call from the Big East Head of Officials (was on Mike and the Maddog)... before you read this hotugh, keep in mind that he was upset. He wanted the game to be decided in OT and for the best outcome would have been for that. I paraphrased...

Bob Donato was forced to make a call when he saw that Wallace stepped on the line out-of-bounds. According to Donato and also in stern agreement was the Head of Officals, Stokes did indeed foul him.. in essence forcing the opposing player out of bounds. It is near impossible for Donato to know how much time is left, as the play was coming directly at him. So while that call is not made with 0.1 seconds left, you likely make it if there are 3 seconds left.

He has to back his guys somewhat.. but he did sound as if he wished it could end another way. Behind closed doors I'm sure he tells Donato to just swallow the whistle next time.

At 5:32 PM, February 12, 2008, Blogger Foye's Boy said...


the fix is in

At 6:12 PM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it really sucks that the game had to end this way, but I think it didn't extremely hurt us overall because there's really no way we'll make the tournament this year. As long as we can hold our own the rest of the regular season, we can make it to the big east tourney, and hopefully the NIT. We played our best, and things just didnt go our way.


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