When the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee meets this offseason, Georgia head coach Mark Fox will ask for a rule that affected his team in the closing seconds of a game to be changed.
At the end of Saturday's 63-62 loss to Texas A&M, Georgia had the ball on the game's final possession with the game clock stopping at 5.6 seconds. The officiating crew of Mike Nance, James Breeding and Tim Gattis did not notice this and the possession played out, ending with the Aggies fouling Georgia forward Yante Maten underneath.
But after the officials noticed the clock stoppage, they reviewed the game tape and used a stop-watch to determine when Maten was fouled. More than 5.6 seconds had elapsed and therefore the game was over. Given the circumstance, Fox said he will present a rule change.
“There’s no question I’ll work, when the time’s right, to find a solution that can be fair teams in that situation,” Fox said.
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While the rule was properly administered, it is one that left Fox and his players frustrated afterward. The SEC released a statement Saturday evening stating that while officials made the correct ruling, they “failed to recognize the game clock was not functioning properly during live action.”
Fox said the last time he was in a similar situation was in 2013 against South Carolina, with former Georgia forward Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game at 54-54 with 8.9 seconds to go. On the ensuing possession, officials didn't notice that the clock was running before South Carolina inbounded the ball until after Bruce Ellington missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
After review, referees put 4.5 seconds back on the clock and gave South Carolina another possession but forced it to inbound the ball underneath its own basket.
The Gamecocks missed and Georgia eventually won in overtime.
“We were in a situation against South Carolina when the shoe was on the other foot, essentially,” Fox said. “I don't know what the rules were at that time. It’s an unfortunate situation. Again, the NCAA rules were administered the right way after the mistake. We’ve got to live with it and move on.”