Was the Clock Cooked at Cameron?

Yeah, that was a fairly hokey title.

Duke vs Clemson was the big ACC game of the week and it did not disappoint right down to an incredible five points in 13 seconds rally from Clemson which undoubtedly reminded older Duke fans of the infamous eight points in 17 seconds from UNC in 1975. Anyhow, Duke pulled it out on a David McClure layup with 0.1 second left and walked out with a 68-66 win. The win was marred with a rather egregious timing error where the clock did not start for about two seconds when Vernon Hamilton picked up an errant Josh McRoberts’ pass and nailed a three to tie the game at 66. The referees conferred and mysteriously determined that only 0.6 seconds elasped and Duke inbounded with 4.4 seconds left thus granting them just enough time to win the game.

The clock disparity has instigated a full blown firestorm, as one might expect. In fact the foks who run the Shoelessworks.com website produced this video almost as soon as the game ended[hat tip: 850 the Buzz]:

Now there are two questions to ask here:

1. Did the clock operator attempt to give Duke an advantage?

No. The reason being is that the clock operator would have to be pyschic. He/she has no way of knowing that failing to start the clock would actually benefit Duke because (1) Hamilton has to make the shot first and (2) if he is wrong and Clemson is able to get another shot off then he would actually have ended up giving the Tigers an edge. In other words the clock operator would have to be thinking: “Let me hold the clock for two seconds just in case this shot to tie the game goes in.” The likely scenario is the clock operator simply did not start it as an honest mistake because of the manner in which McRoberts threw the ball away.

2. Did the refs attempt to give Duke an advantage by setting the clock at 4.4 seconds instead of 3.0?

Again the answer is no, not intentionally anyway. In short the referees in the ACC might be absolutely and utterly incapable of making the correct call when asked to do so but I have surmised they are not dishonest. And honestly I am not real sure which one is more disturbing. I just cannot understand how they botched this call, especially with the benefit of instant replay to make the correction. Missing a call on the fly is one thing but making a timing error of this magnitude while having the replay available to make certain you get it correct is borderline criminal. There is no way you can watch the replay and conclude that Vernon Hamilton scooping up the errant McRoberts’ pass and the shooting the ball 20 feet to the basket could only take 0.6 seconds. In fact the NBA has determined that a catch and shoot is at least 0.3 seconds which does not account for a full jump shooting motion or the time it takes for the ball to travel to the basket. So if we take the NBA rule to be consistent determination of timing then according to the referees in this game it only took the ball 0.3 seconds to travel to the basket if you only account for the linear distance from Hamilton to the hoop and not the arch. Then consider that if an object is traveling 60 mph then it’s velocity is one mile per minute or 5280 feet every sixty seconds. 5280 divided by 60 means the object is travling 88 feet per second, 44 feet per half second or around 25 feet in the 0.3 seconds in this play. That means when you also include the arc on the shot the ball would have to be cruising with the flow of traffic on I-40. The point is the officials in this game are so obviously incompontent that I would hope, nay beg, that the ACC would make sure these bozos do not call another game for the remainder of the year.

This kind of mistake should never happen and that fact it has happened once again painfully illustrates just how unimportant fair officiating is to the ACC.

6 Responses to Was the Clock Cooked at Cameron?

  1. jack says:

    hey, THF did you notice that mike patrick said first “that means that play only took 6 tenths of a second” after he said that, neither len elmore or mike patrick said anything about it. there was no instant replay, no comments about it, nothing. they didnt want the nation to see that duke should never had won that game.

  2. David W says:

    Last nights dook Clemson game reminded me of the 1972 Olympic basketball finals when the USA got cheated out of a gold medal due to a phantom time out by the Soviet Union. That was a colossal screw up last night and there should be some serious consequences to the officials that were responsible. If this was the first time a “clock error” had occurred in cameron, that would be one thing but I if I remember correctly this is the second time this season and third or fourth time in the past few years. Somehow dook seems to benefit form these “clock errors” in cameron. Jack. My theory on why they did not discuss the controversy after the game was over had to do more with espn wanting to show us somebody doing flips on a snowmobile. Who really care about the winter x games?

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    David W is probably right and I did notice on the SportsCenter highlights it was never mentioned. There is a perception that if there is bad officiating then Duke benefits from it and it almost never goes the other way. I mean can you imagine the response you would get from Coach K if they were at Littlejohn and this would have happened?

  4. Jimmy G says:

    As much I was wanting Duke to lose (that’s the only reason I was watching the game), I have to say that I think the announcers realize that officials have a tough job, and they don’t want to bring anymore heat on them than they already get. The fans and coaches give the refs hell for 40 minutes. There is no point in the announcers beating a dead horse and bitching about bad calls too.

    The last second shot by Alabama to beat UGA last Saturday is another example of the announcers staying out of the give the refs hell game. One announcer mentioned the lack of a traveling call, and then it was swept under the rug.

    Bad calls are going to be made, that’s one thing that you can count on! The greatest teams can overcome bad calls and win. Whereas, lesser teams waste their time and energy focusing on the bad calls, and lose.

  5. Jimmy G says:

    Here’s a better video that shows how much time should have been taken off of the clock – 2.2 seconds

  6. Howard L says:


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