As of Friday afternoon, Kevin Stallings hadn’t received an explanation or apology from Southeastern Conference officials about an apparent shot clock violation referees missed late in Thursday’s game against Kentucky.
The Vanderbilt coach doesn’t expect to hear from the conference office after the Commodores’ 60-58 loss in the SEC opener for both teams. But he thinks the rule regarding reviews of such situations needs to be revisited.
With 17.3 seconds left, Nerlens Noel made a floater from the lane and gave Kentucky a 60-55 lead. Before he released the shot, the horn that denotes the end of the shot clock sounded. Stallings wanted a shot clock violation and called a timeout to plead his case to the referees. Replays showed the ball was still in Noel’s hand when the shot clock – positioned to the right of the basket – showed a red zero.
Officials told him the play wasn’t reviewable.
“I just really wish they would have called that. It hurts,” guard Kyle Fuller said. “That is a definitely possession that we needed. On top of that we played a good 35 seconds of defense. It is only right to reward us for that.”
The NCAA 2012-13 men’s and women’s basketball rules book states that the officials shall not use available courtside replay equipment for judgment calls. Falling into that category is Rule 2, Section 13, Article 5-d: “[To] determine whether the ball was released before the sounding of the shot-clock horn, except as in 2-13.3.a.2.” That ruling allows officials to “determine whether a shot-clock violation occurred before the reading of zeros on the game clock.”
“That needs to be changed probably in the last two minutes of the game,” Stallings said. “They need to be able to review that. I think [Thursday’s officiating crew] would have preferred to review it. I’m sure they would have. I guess as it stands now, they can only review it at the end of game or end of half. But for the betterment of the game that probably is a rule that needs to be looked at and possibly changed.”
SEC coordinator of men’s basketball officials Gerald Boudreaux was traveling on Friday and was not made available for comment. Neither spokesperson from the NCAA nor SEC offered an explanation as to why the play was deemed unreviewable. SEC spokesperson Craig Pinkerton said the only reviewable instance involving the shot clock is if the shot clock malfunctioned.
Vanderbilt associate director of student athletics Brock Williams said there was not a shot clock malfunction Thursday. The horn went off signaling the end of the shot clock. Unlike NBA shot clocks, Vanderbilt’s does not show tenths of a second. The game clock does. Thus, according to Williams, when the shot clock showed zero, the horn immediately went off.
“It functioned properly,” Williams said. “It did what it was supposed to do.”
At the end of the half and regulation, when the game clock reaches zero a red light on the backboards at Memorial Gymnasium lights up. The same does not occur for the end of the shot clock. Only the horn goes off.
The shot clocks at Memorial Gymnasium sit 15 feet behind the backboard and nine feet to the right, tethered to one of two anchors for the basket. Williams said moving the shot clock to above the basket, which is standard at most college arenas, has been studied and would continue to be evaluated. He noted such a move could cause an obstruction of view to the fans right behind the basket.
To Stallings, position of the shot clock is trivial.
“I doubt if that would make a big difference,” Stallings said. “I’ve heard from [other] officials that ... it is hard for them to keep their eye on the ball and on the clock at the same time, which is kind of understandable. I’ve just heard from other officials that that’s one of the more difficult things they have to deal with.”
Vanderbilt (6-7, 0-1) must quickly regroup as it plays at Arkansas (9-5, 0-1) on Saturday (5 p.m., Fox Sports Network).
Stallings is curious to see how his young team responds in its first SEC road game of the season. He said the Commodores must move on from the disappointing loss to the defending national champs.
“I think too much is being made of the call,” Stallings said. “The disappointment is that we didn’t win the game. The disappointment isn’t in the official’s call. The disappointment is we didn’t win the game. We’re not focused on the fact that there was a key call that was missed. We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. We had a chance to win the game. ... We did things that led to the loss. We didn’t lose because of an official’s call. It was an unfortunate time for a call to be missed but that’s not why we lost.”