West Virginia falls victim to brutal late-game goaltending non-call at Syracuse

Third-ranked Syracuse could have won it outright on a final possession in regulation, or the game could have been decided in overtime, but we'll never know.

A crucial non-call on what should have been goaltending against the Orange in the final seconds on Saturday helped them escape a serious home scare from West Virginia, 63-61.

Deniz Kilicli grabbed an aired 3-point attempt by teammate Truck Bryant with just over 10 seconds left to play and went up for what was about to be a gimme to tie the game at 63-63.

However, after the ball bounced off of the glass, Baye Moussa Keita 'blocked' it, which, by rule, is a clear-as-day goaltend. It was missed by a referee standing roughly 10 feet away right under the hoop, sending the nearby West Virginia bench into an absolute frenzy. Even three of the Mountaineer players, with the ball still live, threw their arms in the air in disbelief.

It was an obvious call to make for those watching it in real time, and it was made to look even worse during ESPN's multiple replays from several different angles. Also agonizing in the moment was the fact that goaltending calls are not reviewable.

No one was more livid than fiery West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who composed himself to organize one final play during the ensuing timeout with just over six seconds left, but after Kevin Jones's last-second 3-point attempt fired off of the rim, he was shooting evil glares left and right.

[ Related: All of Saturday's college hoops scores ]

It was no guarantee that West Virginia would have ended up winning, but either way, the Mountaineers got screwed.

They dropped to 15-7 overall and 5-4 in Big East play, but with a win, they could have further solidified what is an already respectable NCAA tournament at-large résumé. To boot, they would have remained within a game behind — at the moment — Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown in the hunt for a Big East regular season title.

Now, they're three games behind the Orange, and are the subjects of one of this season's more brutal 'what ifs.'

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for RunRebs.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanmgreene.

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