I know everyone just wants to accept that Saint Mary's is a better team than Gonzaga, but after last night I can't fool myself into believing that. In a two-point game that is decided at the buzzer by a miracle shot, it is pretty easy to look at all of the calls that led us to that moment. I noticed early in the game that Rob was hacked by multiple players on one shot attempt.. no call. Rob Jones' fast break dunk on Olynyk: I know Olynyk was stupid to foul him, but watch the whole play. Jones made a rather obvious push off to get out in front, no call. There were several instances like this, like when Sacre was pushed down by two SMC defenders..no call. Yeah, Rob likes to shoot falling over backwards over guys that are shorter than him.
Anyone notice the play where Jones went to the basket, out of control, and RAN OVER Dower? I'm not saying Dower was planted, BUT THEY CALLED THE FOUL ON ROB SACRE FOR A GENTLE TOUCH ON THE BACK!!! No way that was on Rob and not Sam. This was an attempt to get Rob out of the game by the officials. Period.
Now, on to the way Steven Gray was officiated. I realize that some of you just listen to the announcers, so you may think some of these fouls on Steven were justified. They weren't. ESPN's announcers were VERY pro-SMC, so they found a way to ignore all the contact on Steven before his "push-offs". Gray was called for two offensive fouls (neither was the right call) and two of the weakest defensive foul calls I've ever seen. THEN, McConnell commits even more of a push off than Steven and is rewarded with a continuation (ESPN's explanation of Meech getting a hand over the top was wrong) . The referees were trying to get Steven out as soon as possible. Don't try to argue it, those calls were horrible and had a colossal impact on the game.
I don't see how it isn't obvious to everyone that officiating is a large part of why we're losing. Sure, we haven't been playing perfect basketball, but when the game is officiated so unfairly it takes away from the confidence of our players, it is hard to get in a flow as a team. How is Gray supposed to play any defense when WCC officials treat McConnell like he's LeBron? How can we go inside when we are hacked frequently just to see the refs look the other way and call a no-contact foul on us at the other end? I wouldn't make such a big deal of this if I didn't really think it was the problem.
Sure, this was by far SMC's best performance coupled with about 10 points worth of PURE luck (the bricks that rattled in), but we still are the better team. I haven't lost confidence in these guys, because in my mind they outplayed SMC and look like they could explode later in the conference slate.
I still have no respect for SMC, this game was handed to them. And some of the bounces they got.. wow.
Screw the WCC, it's pretty obvious they don't appreciate us making them relevant, so we should leave. Why would a potential recruit want to go through what Steven went through last night? Get out before it kills our recruiting.
Take this however you want, but if you want to reply and say that the officiating hasn't had a large impact on these last 3 games, please don't kid yourself.