MAAC releases statement acknowledging mistakes at end of Rider, Niagara game
Replays clearly showed that Jon Thompson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer should have counted because the clock started prematurely. The officials, who originally called the shot good, overturned the decision following a video review.
All three officials —Rusty Cooper, Tony Crisp and Kenneth Clark — have been suspended from their next MAAC officiating assignment for failing to realize the clock started early on the final inbound pass, the league announced. There was also a public reprimand issued to the Game Clock Operator and Replay System Operator at Niagara University.
After the Purple Eagles went ahead on a basket with 3.7 seconds remaining, Thompson took the ball out under the basket and passed laterally to Brandon Penn, who was standing behind the baseline.
Penn passed the ball back to Thompson, who had begun charging up court.
The clock started when Thompson made the initial pass to Penn, which was the mistake. The clock should have started when Penn passed the ball back to Thompson.
“To get the game taken from you, it was a really bitter pill to swallow,” said Rider coach Tommy Dempsey. “At this point, we don’t have much time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to get ready for a big game against Iona.”
Rider players and coaches had started celebrating on the court.
“It was hard because of the range of emotions,” Dempsey said. “I was very confident that the video evidence was going to back us. I knew the clock had started early because I saw it live. I saw it and I was pointing it out the whole time.
“I trusted that visual evidence was going to back up the win. We were shocked when the referees left the court and awarded the win to Niagara.”
Dempsey said he addressed the team Monday regarding situation.
“It stinks the way it turned out,” Dempsey said, “but we’re not going to get the win. They’re not going to reverse the outcome of the game even though there is an acknowledgment now that we really won the game.”
The Broncs fell to 11-16 overall and 8-7 in the conference. They would have secured a top-six seed with a victory, instead, they’ll probably have to win one of their final three league games — all at home but against three teams ahead of them in the standings — to ensure a top-six spot.
Rider faces co-leaders Iona Wednesday.