The call stands. No matter how the Mountain West Conference states their officials made an error late in Saturday’s Utah State-New Mexico game in Albuquerque, the final score will still stand.
New Mexico led, 66-65, with 31 seconds left when Anthony Mathis brought the ball up the floor for the Lobos. He appeared headed for a trap when he jumped in the air at the midcourt stripe and passed it to teammate Vance Jackson. As Jackson caught the ball head official Winston Stith called an over-and-back, a turnover that set up Utah State for the final possession.
On that final possession Sam Merrill found Abel Porter who knocked down a three pointer to give Utah State a 68-66 victory.
A few hours after the game ended the Mountain West acknowledged that Stith made an incorrect call on the over-and-back.
“After postgame video review, the Mountain West has determined the whistle for a back-court violation in the final minute of the Utah State at New Mexico men’s basketball game was incorrect. Inasmuch as the situation involved a judgment call, it was not reviewable via the instant replay monitor in accordance with NCAA Playing Rule 11-1.4. The matter will be addressed via the Conference’s internal officiating evaluation procedures.”
Nonetheless the outcome will not change. Which is a tough pill for the Lobos to swallow after it appeared that they would win for the second time in three games. Instead they now sit on a two game losing streak, a 9-11 overall record, and a 3-5 conference record that puts them in ninth place. While a win would’ve put them in fourth.
Even worse for the Lobos is that this one will sit and stew for a while since they will not return to the court until next Saturday when they visit Fresno State who is 14-5, and 5-2 in MWC play.