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A closer look at the shot

So how did Arizona win that game? The Wildcats beat Colorado 92-83 in overtime, but got the benefit of a last second call that went their way. The question is, did Arizona steal one?

To be honest, I think they did. Watching it live, I thought Sabatino Chen’s last second bank shot was good. Watching the replay I am pretty sure it was good. However, the officials deemed that it was no good.

According to the Associated Press report, referee James Breeding “told a television announcer that the ball was on Chen's fingertips when the lights around the backboard went on.”

The ESPNU video is a tad inconclusive. I reviewed it about 10 times, including on my television’s super slo-mo that took nearly two minutes to play the three seconds of action. While it appears that the ball is out of Chen’s hands before the clock expiring. The only issue is that there is a slight frame jump on the video. The ESPNU video clearly shows that the ball is on his finger tips with 0.1 seconds to play. Even in super slo-mo the video skips and the ball is appears to be about three inches off his fingertips and the clock is at 0.0 and the red light is one. The problem, there is no definitive, slow motion video shot of the ball the exact moment it leaves Chen’s hands.

That being said, there are screen captures from the side view of the ESPN broadcast that seem to show the ball being out of his hand with 0.1 seconds on the scoreboard. Most of those shots do have some brown blurs at the top of the hand/bottom of the ball, but the blur appears to be just that, motion blur and not Chen’s fingers.

But what did the officials see? That seems to be the question. The officials apparently watched both the in-house feed and the ESPN feed on a 22” monitor that is reportedly not high definition. It is possible that that video feed had a more definitive view of the ball the moment it leaves the hand, but again, all evidence seems to indicate that the ball was out before time expired.

Now, if the officials deemed that the video was inconclusive then they would revert to the call on the floor. The rule states, "When definitive information is unattainable with the use of the monitor, the original call stands." Here we have another problem. There have been reports that there was not a definitive call on the floor, but still shots of the ESPN feed show that at least one official signaled it good. Could he have been overruled by the other officials? It is hard to say, but Breedings’ comments did not mention reverting to the original call.

So it seems that Arizona bought a call, but in essence it was a make-up call. Arizona seemed to be on the wrong side of two calls late in the game. The first came on a steal by Nick Johnson. Johnson gets the steal and seems to be on his way to a break-away dunk/lay-up. Johnson is grabbed on the arm from behind by Andre Roberson, but no intentional foul is called. Had the intentional foul been called, the Wildcats would have received the ball after the foul shots.

With the Wildcats down just three with :43 seconds to play, Spencer Dinwiddie appears to trip near mid-court while bringing the ball up. Instead of getting a turnover in a one-possession game, Mark Lyons is called for the foul and Dinwiddie makes one of two foul shots.

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