Friday, February 14th, 1997
All's Quiet on the Hokie Front
There's not a whole lot going on of any major consequence right now, so here are few tidbits to chew on:
The Guys in Stripes are Stinking up the Court
I've seen some of the worst reffing that I've ever seen this year, and this week, it haunted both Tech and UVa. As you know, Tech was burned by a no-call of a foul on David Jackson's last second three-point attempt against La Salle last Saturday (a foul that La Salle's Donnie Carr freely admits he committed).
As you more remote Hokies may not now, UVa was involved in a controversial last-second blunder by the refs in their game against Duke. With exactly five seconds to go, UVa's Norman Nolan made a free throw to put the Hoos up by one, 61-60. At the scorer's table, UVa's Willie Dersch (did I spell that right?) was waiting to enter the game, and as Nolan's free throw went through the net, the horn sounded and the red light on the basket turned on, indicating that a player was waiting to enter the game.
In the bedlam and the noise, the refs on the court missed it, and they handed the ball to Duke, who threw it inbounds to Steve Wojochowski (I know I didn't spell that right!). Wojo started barrelling up court with the ball.
Back at the scorer's table, Dersch, who had not been let into the game, was standing in the way of the timekeeper, blocking his view of the floor. In addition to not being able to see that Duke had thrown the ball in, the timekeeper was no doubt caught off guard by the fact that the play had started, and he neglected to start the clock. As Wojo drove down the court, the UVa perimeter defenders, most notably Harold Deane, were yelling and pointing at the clock, instead of playing defense, and Wojo blew right by them to the basket, where he was fouled by Norman Nolan. The clock, which had been started after Wojo was already halfway down the floor, showed 2.7 seconds, a bare-faced lie.
The officials got together and talked it over, and after watching a TV replay, they set the clock to 0.7 seconds. But the damage had been done. Wojo went to the line and nailed both freebies, and UVa lost, 62-61.
Yeah, I know. Boo Hoo. But in addition to the poor, inconsistent reffing that I've seen in Cassell Coliseum this year, these two incidents (the Dave Jackson no-call and the stuck clock in Charlottesville) point out the generally sorry state of officiating in college ball today. No doubt there are a lot of good officials on the floor, but there are rarely three good ones on the floor at the same time, and it's showing in the breakdowns that they're suffering. A crew of officials are a team, just like the basketball players, and if they've got a weak link or two, it can affect the outcome of a game, as it did this week.
Okay - now I'm going to quit talking about stuff I know nothing about. I was just looking to fill space....