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February 18, 2014

Arizona indifferent about Pac-12 admission

For Arizona head coach Sean Miller, last Friday's 69-66 double-overtime loss at Arizona State was over and done with the moment he shook the hand of Sun Devils head coach Herb Sendek.

But on Sunday night, according to an ESPN report, a Pac-12 Conference official said the game referees erred in the closing seconds. After Jordan Bachynski's blocked shot on T.J. McConnell's attempt, ASU guard Jahii Carson raced down the court and provided the punctuation dunk instead of dribbling out the clock. When the sophomore completed the play, the clock read 0.5 seconds remaining as he performed a chin-up on the rim in celebration.

A technical foul was not called.

The NCAA rulebook states that a technical foul should be assessed when a player hangs on the rim "in an excessive, emphatic manner during the officials' jurisdiction when the player is not, in the judgment of an official, trying to prevent an obvious injury to self or others."

The Pac-12 told ESPN that the officials "missed the call," but by Monday Miller was not interested in playing a what-if game and said the Sun Devils deserved "full credit for beating us."

"They played an excellent game, an excellent defensive game," Miller said. "Jordan Bachynski, just looking back, anytime a college player can get eight shot blocks - and one of them is the game-winner - you have to give credit where credit's due.

"The game was filled with moments where each team could have won or lost, and unfortunately we were on the wrong end of that. But we lost the game. The last play or circumstances beyond the shot block, it's irrelevant."

Miller added: "I don't want to win or lose on something that doesn't have any relevance to the actual play."

Other factors to the outcome included Jermaine Marshall's 29 points and his string of three consecutive baskets - two 3-pointers and the go-ahead layup - to take the lead in the second extra session, Miller said.

The Wildcats also turned the ball over 15 times and missed 14 free throws.

The Pac-12 also ruled that the officials were correct in not assessing a technical foul to ASU for leaving the bench after Carson's dunk, as well as the premature court storm from the student section that followed. The crowd was ordered back to the stands as officials determined how much time should be put back on the clock.

Because it was a dead-ball situation, the Pac-12 said "the fans and team followers who rushed the floor did not create a delay that interfered with play."

The Wildcats had a similar fate Feb. 1 at California when the fans rushed the floor after Justin Cobbs' game-winner 0.9 seconds to play.

"You just go to the huddle and try to talk about the game plan or the play," McConnell when asked about the mindset in that situation.

"We've seen people rush the floor twice, so we're going to try to make sure that doesn't happen again."

After officials reset the game clock to 0.7 seconds, Arizona inbounded the ball from under its own basket and Nick Johnson's potential game-tying 3-pointer from 35 feet was on-line, but hit the front of the rim.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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