Iowa State players, coaches and fans have to hate the block-charge rule and the inconsistency in how it is called by officials.
For the second time in a month, the Cyclones were on the wrong end of a botched block-charge call in a huge game Saturday against Ohio State in the Round of 32, and this time the call contributed to ending their season in a 78-75 loss to the Buckeyes.
And once again, a higher authority admitted afterward that game officials got the call wrong.
Iowa State led 75-74 with 1 minute, 41 seconds to play in the NCAA tournament game when Cyclones' senior guard Will Clyburn drove to rim and made a layup over two Ohio State defenders .
One of those defenders was Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft who stepped in two take a charge. It was a bang-bang play with Craft establishing position just as Clyburn soared to the rim. Officials called Clyburn for charging and waved off the bucket. The nullified shot would have made it 77-74.
Replays showed Craft's right heel seemed to be on or hovering above the restricted-area arc, which should have made the call a block and led to an and-one free throw for Clyburn. If Clyburn would have made that free throw, Iowa State would have led 78-74.
John Adams, national coordinator of officials for the NCAA, told the CBS studio crew after the game that officials made the wrong call. Adams said he had reviewed video of the play several times.
"The rule is a secondary defender cannot establish legal guarding position standing in the restricted area," Adams said. "On a number of replays that we've looked at, the case is being made that the defender had his foot up in the air hovering over the restricted area arc. If indeed that was the case, that defender would not be in legal guarding position."
Following the charge call, Craft then hit one of two free throws on the other end to tie the game 75-75 with 1:15 left.
The charge call was huge, but it wasn't the lone factor in deciding the game down the stretch. Ohio State stole the ball on Iowa State's next possession in the final minute.Failing to take better care of the ball on that possession will surely be something the Cyclones lament, too.
Craft then shot an 18-footer late in the shot clock that missed. But two Iowa State players failed to come up with the rebound fighting DeShaun Thomas and the Buckeyes got the ball back after it went off Cyclone's forward Melvin Ejim out of bounds with 29.9 seconds remaining.
Bottom line, if Iowa State doesn't turn the ball over on its last possession or gets a rebound to earn another possession, the bad call might have simply been an afterthought in a thrilling win. But the Cyclones didn't make those plays.
Craft received the inbound pass and never passed the ball. He dribbled the clock down and launched a 3-pointer that splashed through the nylon with .2 seconds showing. Final score 78-75.
Iowa State lost in overtime to Kansas in late-February on a similar play in which the roles were reversed. Iowa State big man Georges Niang appeared to draw a charge on Elijah Johnson, but officials called a block. Big 12 Conference officials acknowledged the following day that officials made the wrong call.
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