A tenth of a second turned jubilation into agony for the GW men’s basketball team Saturday as a controversial tip-in at the buzzer put No. 13 Xavier up 71-70, turning a near-upset into another conference road loss.
Senior Chris Monroe’s mid-range jumper put GW ahead 70-69 and gave Xavier the final possession with 10 seconds remaining. With the clock winding down, David West bobbled a pass that ended up in the hands of Anthony Myles. Myles then missed a jumper at the top of the key and West tipped in the rebound as time expired.
Referees initially called the shot no good because time appeared to have run out before the ball left West’s hand, causing the Colonials to erupt into celebration at mid-court. But referee Ken Clark, following NCAA rules, reviewed the instant replay at the scorer’s table several times and overturned the ruling on the court in favor of Xavier (22-4, 13-1 Atlantic 10), claiming the ball left West’s hand with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
Several Colonials dropped to the ground in disbelief or covered their faces with towels as their upset was taken away.
“We did everything we needed to do to win. We played extremely hard and it just came down to a human judgment,” GW head coach Karl Hobbs said. “We’re disappointed that we couldn’t finish the game off but there’s nothing we can do about the call. Those things happen.”
Monroe and sophomore T.J. Thompson led GW (10-16, 4-11 A-10) with 16 points each. Thompson also had five assists. With one game left in the regular season, Monroe is now 40 points away from breaking GW’s all-time scoring record.
The game featured eight ties and 13 lead changes, as GW scored 20 points off 18 Xavier turnovers to counter solid performances by West (23 points) and junior Romain Sato (20 points).
“We executed our game plan well,” Hobbs said. “We again got contributions from everyone who stepped on the floor and we got the job done. We were right in position to win the game.”
Monroe struggled early in the game, scoring only one point in the first half. GW completed a comeback from a 10-point deficit when sophomore Tamal Forchion gave the team its first lead of the second half on a lay-up with 1:17 to go. After a Xavier jumper, Monroe hit a shot for a 70-69 GW lead before West’s tip-in. The loss was GW’s second straight and sixth of its last eight games. In their regular season finale, the Colonials will play last-place Fordham Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Smith Center.
“We’re in a position where we have to win games now,” Hobbs said. “We can’t come close, we can’t send them to overtime. We have to win.”