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More controversy? No, but blame game ruins great Xavier comeback

Tu Holloway, Jack Cooley

Xavier’s Tu Holloway (52) shoots over Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (45) in the final seconds during the second half of a South Regional NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2012. Xavier won 67-63. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


For the second time in two days, a lane violation on a free throw cost a team a game.

This time, it was Jerian Grant of No. 7 Notre Dame. Down two with 2.8 seconds left, Grant crossed the 3-point line before Eric Atkins hit the front-end of a one-and-one. The shot went in, but the violation was still called. Xavier ball. After two more free throws put Xavier up 67-63, the game was all but over.

Now as you might imagine given the questionable calls that have littered this tournament, the call set twitter ablaze. And quite frankly, the only person that deserves any of the blame here is Grant. He violated a black-and-white rule. He was called for the violation. There is no grey area.

Did it affect the the play? No, the shot went in. But that’s not how the rule is written. If you want to call for the rule to be changed -- if the shot goes in, the violation is waved -- I’m on board with that. But the referees made the right call by the rule book. You cannot rip them for that.

The real shame is all of this is that Grant’s violation mars what was a sensational game.

Xavier’s Tu Holloway was terrific, scoring 25 points and hitting numerous big shots, included a ridiculous, fall-away bank shot over the outstretch arms of Jack Cooley. Holloway’s play sparked a comeback from 11 down in the second half, one that was nearly stemmed by three huge 3-pointers from Grant in the second half.

Except no one is going to remember that.

The only thing that will be taken out of this game is a missed call that wasn’t even a missed call. And that’s a shame.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.