It can’t get anymore bizarre than it did in the Butler-Pittsburgh game can it? It seemed as if both teams wanted to give the game away. Fortunately for Butler, Pittsburgh made the final fatal mistake.
Matt Howard took advantage of maybe the worst foul in the history of college basketball in Butler’s 71-70 upset of the No.1 Panthers in a third-round game on Saturday.
Here’s how the three seconds of the game played out: Butler’s Andrew Smith made a layup off a feed from Shawn Vanzant to give the Bulldogs a 70-69 lead with three seconds left.
Game over, right? Of course not.
Shelvin Mack, for some unknown reason, committed a foul on Gilbert Brown has he dribbled the ball up the left sideline. The problem was Brown had barely reached the halfcourt line and was nearly out of bounds. Mack had his hands in the air, but he used a body block to push Brown out. Tough break, but the refs had to make the call.
Brown made the first free throw to tie the score at 70 with one second left. And we’re on our way to overtime, right? Wrong.
Brown missed the second free throw and Matt Howard grabbed the rebound. For some crazy reason Nasir Robinson fouled Howard with .8 seconds left. Yes, he grabbed Howard’s arm. It almost looked as if Robinson fouled Howard on purpose. I don’t know if Robinson will ever be able to explain that. To his credit, he didn’t blame anyone but himself.
"I've been playing basketball my whole life and I know I shouldn't have done that. It was a stupid play," Robinson said. "It wasn't the ref's fault. It was my fault."
Howard made the free throw and Butler wins, 71-70.
Two fouls in three seconds, both of which were unnecessary. Robinson’s foul trumped Mack’s bad foul. Unbelievable.
“You hate to see a game end that way,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “That’s the way the game ended.”