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Southern Illinois has their Chris Webber moment

Southern Illinois and Northeastern didn’t play the prettiest game of ESPN’s 24 Hour Tip-Off Marathon.

In fact, it was probably the ugliest. And it wasn’t all that close, either. Things got so bad that folks in my twitter feed were actively pining to avoid overtime simply because the game was so aesthetically nauseating.

Nothing about the first 44 minutes and 57.5 seconds of this game was remotely memorable.

The last 2.5 seconds, however, were much different.

Northeastern had the ball with the game tied for on the final possession of overtime. They isolated Chaisson Allen on the wing. Allen made a move, missed a pull-up, and two SIU players corralled the rebound. As time was ticking, the Saluki players called timeout with 2.5 seconds left on the clock

This would be standard, except for the fact that SIU was out of timeouts at the time. Check out the video (the final play starts at the 2:00 minute mark):

If you listen closely, you can actually hear a player calling for timeout.

As we all learned from Chris Webber, the penalty for calling a timeout when you don’t have one left is a technical foul. After SIU was assessed the T, Allen hit one of two free throws, giving Northeastern a 63-62 lead that would eventually give Northeastern the win.

Its the result of a rule that Mike DeCourcy says needs to be changed:

What occurred in Carbondale appeared to be a lousy application of an abominable rule.

This result ought to push the NCAA rules committee toward adopting FIBA rules on timeouts, which are much more reasonable, lead to a more attractive game and also avoid making scapegoats out of players like Weber and whomever allegedly was at fault for SIU.

In international basketball, only the coach can call for a timeout. A timeout may only be granted in what is essentially a dead-ball situation: after a violation, or when the ball goes out of bounds. The coach also may be granted a timeout immediately after his team surrenders a basket.

Such an arrangement restores logic to basketball that is absent when players call time to escape unpleasant circumstances. It’s always been ridiculous that a basketball player trapped in a double-team can freeze time to escape that situation, as if he’s Adam Sandler in that awful movie from a few years back. A quarterback can’t do that when a blitzing linebacker is about to throw him for a 12-yard loss.

It also eliminates the absurdity of a player prone on the floor in a loose-ball scrum who barely gains possession of the ball being awarded a timeout when he clearly is not in control of the situation.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with that rule. I think its great that a kid is allowed to make a hustle play, diving on the floor and calling a time out to save possession. If you want to waste a timeout -- and don’t get it confused, timeouts are valuable -- to save a possession, go for it.