SALT LAKE CITY — That goaltend that wasn't? Turns out Chris Collins wasn't seeing things.
The NCAA released a statement following Northwestern's 79-73 loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament admitting that officials missed a should-have-been goaltending call late in the game.
The lack of a whistle sent Collins into a berserker rage, and he ran toward an official and earned a technical foul that gave Gonzaga a pair of free throws.
After Northwestern chopped a 20-point second-half deficit all the way down to five, that goaltend, had it been called, would've made it a three-point game. Instead, Gonzaga got two free throws and extended its lead to seven. It didn't lead by fewer than five the rest of the way.
Here's what the NCAA had to say after the game:
"With 4:57 remaining in this evening's second-round game between Gonzaga and Northwestern, the officials missed a rules violation when a Gonzaga defender put his arm through the rim to block a shot. Rule 9, Section 15 of the NCAA men's basketball rules book covers basket interference and goaltending. Article 2.a.3 states that basket interference occurs when a player reaches through the basket from below and touches the ball before it enters the cylinder. Replays showed the Gonzaga defender violated this rule, which should have resulted in a scored basket by Northwestern.
"Subsequently, with 4:54 remaining in the game and based on bench decorum rules outlined in the rules book, a technical foul was assessed to Northwestern head coach Chris Collins for coming on to the floor to argue the non-call while the ball was in play."
That's two games in a row that Northwestern was involved in a inexplicable sequence late in the game. On Thursday, a Vanderbilt player fouled Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh after the Commodores had taken a lead in the final seconds. McIntosh hit two free throws to tie the game and then give Northwestern a one-point lead, which proved the game-winning point.
Certainly this March is living up to its mad reputation.