Astute North Carolina fans caught a mistake neither the Tar Heels players nor coaches seemed to notice late in their two-point victory at NC State on Wednesday night.
The game clock froze for about 15 seconds with 1:20 to go in the second half and North Carolina clinging to a three-point lead.
No time came off the clock as the Tar Heels fed Kennedy Meeks in the post, as the sophomore forward missed a shot or as point guard Marcus Paige dove for the offensive rebound and forced a held ball. Only after North Carolina inbounded the ball following a stoppage in play does the clock finally begin counting down from 1:20 again.
Hard as it may be to fathom that neither the ESPN broadcast crew nor the North Carolina bench noticed the gaffe, an ACC official confirmed Thursday that the the clock did indeed stop and that the league will look into how and why it happened. Barring the unlikely event that evidence emerges suggesting this was more than just an innocent mistake, the league probably won't take further action.
The timing error did not impact the outcome of the game but it certainly gave NC State a little better chance to complete its comeback. Ralston Turner missed two potential game-tying threes in the final two minutes and Cody Martin couldn't tie the game with a tip-in at the final buzzer, enabling the Tar Heels to escape with an 81-79 road win.
North Carolina spokesman Matt Bowers said Thursday that the ACC informed the Tar Heels of the "apparent error" and is "looking into it." Bowers declined further comment, referring all questions to the league.
(Thanks, College Basketball Talk)