When head coach Larry Eustachy walked into the press room, a look of disgust, frustration and unease was on prominent display in his body language. But it wasn’t anything the CSU or New Mexico men’s basketball teams did –– it was the fact that the game time and shot clock were mixed up in the final seconds of competition.
Before Eustachy reached his seat, he began to address how proud he was of the team despite its inability to make shots and to strive against two Lobos who he believed will be two future NBA players. Even with J.J. Avila going 1-12 and Hugh Greenwood missing a pivotal 3-pointer, Eustachy still thought that his team would win the game against the Lobos.
While shots were missed not only by the Rams but the Lobos as well, the game came down to a 5-second difference. Each time a shot clock resets it is supposed to go back to 35 seconds, keeping the time clock at the same time the other team gained control of the ball. This was not the case in Moby Arena on Saturday.
“All you got to do is look at the time sheet and it says they (New Mexico) got possession at 40 seconds,” Eustachy said. “So what should have happened when they got possession, the shot clock should have restarted at 35. They are dribbling at half court and I thought there was more, six seconds.”
Of all the years Eustachy has been coaching college basketball, he knows what he should be doing and not doing enough to understand that this was an error on the officials and time keepers rather than a coaching miscalculation. The rulebook says the the shot clock should be reset.
In the middle of the press conference, Eustachy asked everyone in the room to look at their notes and papers to tell him what exactly it said. With one reporter responding that New Mexico got the rebound at 40 seconds, Eustachy responded by saying he was baffled that the officials could not have reset the clock on the right time.
Officials told Eustachy that it was a correct call and there could not be a change. Looking at the paper work and the notes of when the Lobos took control of the rebound showed Eustachy was correct. The clock was off by five seconds.
CSU allowed New Mexico to control the ball at half court because fouling in that situation was not a play nor points it was willing to give away. At the 19 second mark Eustachy realized the problem on the time clock and began to scream from the sideline to foul Kendall Williams of the Lobos.
Joe De Ciman ran to commit the foul and stop the clock as soon as he heard what was going on. De Ciman then fouled out of the game.
“Five seconds is plenty of time to drive it up the court if you have one hard stop, you have enough time to get a stop to win the game,” Eustachy said. “All of a sudden I look up, and I’m going ‘There is something wrong with this movie, It says 19 seconds on the shot clock and 19 seconds on the game clock and that is not the case.’”
With 10.1 seconds remaining on the clock, it was a battle between the fouls. The Lobos made two shots at the line of the four it attempted while Jon Octeus put the Rams within one on two free-throws in a row.
The clock had 6.6 remaining on the clock when CSU placed the ball into the hands of Daniel Bejarano. On the final second drive down the court, Bejarano shot the ball on a deep angle that ended up missing the net. Had the clock been correct with an additional five seconds, Bejarano would not have been forced to go deep on his 2-point shot and the game would have ended in a tie until overtime.
Because of the error CSU fell to New Mexico 66-68 on a 5-second difference.
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.