Officials, MIAC apologize to St. Olaf for waving off game-winning basket

St. Olaf had a game-winning tip-in against Augsburg incorrectly waved off in a 75-74 loss to the Auggies Wednesday night in Northfield. ( (credit: St. Olaf Athletics) )

The MIAC has issued an apology to the St. Olaf men’s basketball team after it was determined officials incorrectly waved off a game winning basket against Augsburg Wednesday night in Northfield.

The Oles had possession with 0.2 seconds left on the clock trailing 75-74. Dominic Bledsoe inbounds the ball to Troy Diggins Jr. just inside the free-throw line, and Diggings tips it in with two hands, before the clock hits zero and the buzzer sounds. All three game officials immediately waved off the basket and gave Augsburg the win.

By rule, a shot with .04 seconds left cannot be attempted with two hands, it must be a tip to count. What the officials didn’t factor in was a tip with two hands.

The St. Olaf Athletic Department released a statement Friday, saying they’ve heard from the MIAC and the officials in the game that the call was incorrect. But because the game is over, the result cannot be appealed and the Oles still lose.

"At the conclusion of Wednesday night's men's basketball game, the officials informed us that a tip-in with less than 0.4 seconds left is only permissible if tipped with one hand. Since then, the officials and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) have recognized the mistake in the application and interpretation of the rule and have apologized for the error.

“We have explored options and there is not an avenue in NCAA basketball to appeal results once a game has concluded. While the result of the game is not what we believe is correct, we also realize that human error is a part of athletics and officiating is a difficult task. This situation is an opportunity for our men's basketball coaches and student-athletes to apply the life lessons taught through sport, perseverance, and to respond by putting this loss behind them and prepare for our next opponent," Athletic Director Ryan Bowles said.

The officials don’t have the benefit of a video replay system in Division III, much less the chance to slow it down. Jeff Peters, Jordan Kruger and Thomas Gardner officiated Wednesday night’s game, an ending they’d certainly like to have back.

The Oles drop to 5-7 in the MIAC after the loss, and seventh in the league with eight games to play. The top six teams make the postseason tournament.