Whew! That was close. For those who decided to turn the channel midway through the second half of the game tonight missed out on what should not have come down to this, but a last second shot as time expired by MVC Player of the Year, Booker Woodfox as the Jays escape to Saturday’s semifinal against Illinois St.
The Jays were pumped and the crowd was excited (and apparently many were being escorted out of the student section throughout the game) and the Jays took it to the Shockers flying around the floor, pushing the ball, a few spectacular dunks and the Jays run into halftime with a 13 point lead. The Jays also held the Shocker’s JT Durley scoreless.
Then out from halftime, the Jays still look in control and were up by as many as 22 with 16:41 remaining. OK game over, right? Well according to Bill James his formula said that the Jays lead was 38% safe. Well obviously that was pretty accurate. Durley started getting involved, the Jays were getting outrebounded heavily (48-26 for the game) and the Jays were turning the ball over.
The Shockers picked away at the lead. After several weird plays, referee conferences, water seeping from the ice beneath the basketball floor and check-in problems at the scorers table the Jays are up 2 with 12 seconds left. Then out of no where, P’Allen Stinnett loses Toure Murry (who was 0-4 from three at the time) and he drains the three for Wichita to put them up one. Jays have 9 seconds left to bring the ball down the court and Antoine Young drives and puts up a wild shot that bounces off the rim. A Shocker gets the ball, but then it appeared to get knocked away from him and out of bounds, but the clock is still running and the buzzer sounds. Wichita appeared they escaped with a win. Players and the cheer squad storm the court.
The referees go to the scorers table to see if there was indeed time left on the clock. They discovered there was 1.9 seconds left. After 3 timeouts (2 by the Jays and 1 by Wichita st.) Josh Dotzler was able to find Booker Woodfox but he fumbled the ball a bit, but still was able to dribble twice and hit a 15-footer to win the game.
Again the referees go to the scorers table to verify that the shot was good and after seeing that it was, the Jays escape with a 63-62 win.
The talk originally in the press room directly after the game between Matt Perrault, Travis Justice and Tom Shatel were all convinced that the Jays got more like 3 seconds to shoot the ball and that the clock was not started on time. But as Mr. Shatel wrote later, he went with MVC commissioner Doug Elgin to watch the replay again from the truck with a stopwatch and indeed, the play only actually took about 1.5 seconds and Booker had the shot out of his hands with .4 seconds left.
Here is Booker’s reaction from the Postgame Press Conference that I took:
And as you can tell, Wichita St. head coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t too happy. Here were his thoughts on the end of the game:
The good parts of the game was the first half and the first part of the 2nd half where Kenny Lawson played with a lot of fire and finished with 14 points. P’Allen Stinnett really looked good in the first half and I really liked his leadership. I was about ready to talk about how he was just doing everything for the Jays with his points assists and 4 steals in the first half. But the bad part was that a bad second half with 7 turnovers. I really had no idea until looking at the box score that Cavel Witter shot 1-10 from the field.
Of course, Coach Altman had his reactions to the game. First, that they had planned all along to get the ball to Booker:
Then what he is going to stress to the team and how they reacted to all of this:
But now there is no time to really dwell on tonight’s game. A win is a win and the Jays now have to focus on the Illinois St. Redbirds. With my affiliation with Rush the Court, I will again be down at courtside tomorrow as we do RTC Live and live blog the Jays vs. Redbirds. If you are not in the Scottrade Center and you are watching on TV at home or don’t have access to the game on TV, take a gander at RTC Live and participate in the live blog. Also you can submit any questions or request info from the players and coaches that I can as for you and get answers. See you tomorrow (I mean today a little later).