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Tech-Gate: How the Blog’s Writers Saw It

By Vinny Pezzimenti

Unfortunately, this game won’t be forgotten soon. As far as losses ago in St. Bonaventure’s proud basketball history, one would think only a handful rank as more traumatic.

VCU 83, St. Bonaventure 77.

Instead of St. Bonaventure 66, VCU 65.

We can debate all day and tomorrow whether the technical foul was warranted after Matt Mobley buried the go-ahead 3-pointer. We can propose changes that will prevent a similar occurrence in the future. We can watch the replay over and over … from any number of angles.

In very basic terms, the call made on the floor by the officials – determined after watching replays and much debate – was right.

BUT it was all wrong.

Right in the sense that a security guard grabbing the ball and Bona players and coaches running onto the floor with 0.4 seconds remaining prevented VCU from fairly in bounding for a clean shot at the basket.

Those two instances prevented “continuous play” as laid out in the NCAA rule book, thus warranting a technical foul.

If the roles were reversed, you and I know damned well we’d be pissed if VCU hit a shot in the final second and the Bonnies weren’t given a fair opportunity to counter.

But it was wrong, all wrong. Wrong, in that the spirit of competition, the Bonnies won the game fair and square – or at least pulled ahead with 0.4 seconds left.

In a perfect world, an official would have blown the whistle, retrieved the ball from the security guard, made sure the floor was clear, and allow VCU a clear inbound.

If the technical was assessed on the Bonnies for the actions of the security guard, that’s difficult to accept. The guard unknowingly believed the game was over and followed the responsibilities of his job to protect the basketball. An outcome of a game should never hinge on a third-party individual – unless he is blatantly attempting to alter the outcome. That wasn’t the case here.

Contrary to what coach Mark Schmidt and AD Tim Kenney said, the technical isn’t to blame on the court-storming students – or at least it shouldn’t. They didn’t enter the field of play until after VCU reclaimed the ball from the security guard, in-bounded and hoisted up a final shot. The clock was at 0.0 and the backboard lights were red when the students rushed.

The coach and AD aren’t going to like this, but if anyone is to blame for the technical, it’s the Bona coaches, players and other bench personnel. Many left the bench area for the floor with time remaining on the clock – including Schmidt. Even so, they return to the bench before VCU in-bounds and puts up a shot.

So, where were the officials when all this was happening? In watching the replay, the appear confused and lost. They lost control of the game. They should have restored order and recovered the ball from the security guard before allowing VCU to inbound.

If it was indeed a technical foul on the Bonnies for leaving the bench – which a source close to the action said is to be the case – it should have been assessed right then and there … not after having the luxury of examining the replay several times.

The Atlantic 10 issued a statement supporting the officials’ call as the correct one, though no explanation was given as to why.

But, if we’re being true about the spirit of the game and competition, the correct call would have been to give VCU a clean inbound, trailing by a point, with 0.4 seconds left.


By: Jon May -Think Bigger and Expect to Win

Most of Bona nation may not be pleased with what is about to come next but let me start with this: I am extremely disappointed that St. Bonaventure lost to VCU.

Everyone can agree that St. Bonaventure should have won that game. The record books say they didn’t. Everyone has opinion as to who’s to blame. Go ahead and blame the officials. Go ahead and blame the security guard. Go ahead and blame the fans. Go ahead and blame the players and coaching staff. Heck, while we’re at it, let’s blame ourselves.

For too long St. Bonaventure has been regarded as the “Little Sisters of the Poor,” as if they are just supposed to accept being allowed to play in a conference as competitive as the Atlantic Ten. Yes, there have been dark times, very dark times, but this team with Mark Schmidt at the helm is no longer the perennial 8 or 9 seed come A10 tournament time. He’s won both the regular season and conference tournament in his tenure. He’s turned around what was dubbed, “career suicide,” and showed other possible coaches that winning was possible again at St. Bonaventure. The climb back to the top and the constant chip on the community shoulder should’ve fallen to the wayside after the Bonnies tore down the nets to claim their first ever A10 Championship in 2012.

Fast forward to Saturday’s game with VCU. Anybody who has watched this program for the past three years can see that the Bonnies are not simply a flash in the pan. They have a great coach. They have a severe home court advantage. They develop star players.They have recent history on their side. With that said, it’s time for fans, alumni and students alike to start acting like we belong and deserve to win these games because they’re good and not because St. Bonaventure has suffered and are somehow owed. When everyone starts to expect wins, the thrill and shock of beating an unranked, conference opponent in early February may not result in an entire university forgetting how to act when they win and storming the court prematurely.

The Bonaventure community should think like the VCUs and the Daytons of the league. Those teams don’t storm the court after wins that they expect to accrue. Why? They believe they’re the ones to be beat and don’t buy into the underdog role. It’s time for St. Bonaventure as a whole to act like they belong. Avoid being called out by your former coach. Expect to always be better than the opponent. If the school and community shakes off the past, then maybe situations like Saturday will never happen again. But it all starts from within, expect bigger and better things and always expect to win.

For another video, including great sideline shots and new angles, click here to visit a tweet. 


By: Ian Nolan

Vinny and Jon did a great job of expressing many of my thoughts on this game, one that will go down in Bonaventure hoops history as one of the most memorable and crushing finishes ever. Like many of you, I went from jump around my living room on cloud nine to sitting on my couch, crushed by a call I could not believe in a matter of seconds. It was truly almost impossible to believe that call was made, and yet, when everything happened live I said to myself, “Man I hope they don’t call a T on us for this…”

And then it happened. As Lewis nailed his lone foul shot, you just knew the Bonnies were cooked.

Ultimately here’s what I know- I know that the security guard picked up the ball, began walking off with it because he believed the game was over. I know that most VCU players thought that either the game was over, OR, that Will Wade called a timeout. I know that the students did not rush the floor until the game was over. I know that most of the Bonaventure bench, including the coaches, were on the floor following the made bucket. I know that Matt Mobley’s three ball should have ended the game in dramatic fashion. I do know that the refs did not handle the situation well, and lost control of the game in the final moments (and the league’s statement today reflects this). I know that a fan ran into a ref on the sideline during the course of play, which also does not help SBU’s case either. 

What I don’t know is this- Whether or not Wade tried to call a timeout or if the refs thought he did. I don’t know if the Bonaventure bench prevented the ball from being in-bounded. I don’t know if VCU really made an attempt to inbound the ball (in a timely fashion) and if that effort was denied by a Bonaventure staffer (that’s very subjective). I don’t know why the ref did not blow the whistle as the ball got away from the inbound around, before the security guard grabbed it (or as he did) to retrieve the ball and let the Rams inbound it. Had that happened the game likely ends with a VCU 3/4 court shot seconds later.

In the end I will say this about the entire situation, based off what I have seen and read: The bench should have stayed off the court. The security guard shouldn’t have taken the ball (it was an honest mistake). That Schmidt essentially blamed the fans after the game, and later apologized (below) for those statements. I know that SBU should review their practices as far as securing the floor is concerned. That much is true. 

And I do know that part of me agrees with Jon’s take that the Bonnies fans need to “act as if they’ve been there before” to a degree. I love the excitement and passion, but the game was a pick em. The Bonnies are a real “program” now and beating an un-ranked VCU team at home on a buzzer beater, while incredibly exciting, may not warrant a court storming. Bona AD Tim Kenny said the following after the game, below from the Buffalo News…

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Bona Athletic Director Tim Kenney said immediately after the final buzzer that he thought there were enough security personnel around the court.

“You can only do so much,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to look at it.”

“The disappointing thing about it is it’s not a court-storming game, not that it ever should be.”

Kenney was referring to the fact VCU, while leading the A-10, is not a ranked team.

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I know that Matt Mobley won the game for the team, and that the win was taken away due to actions that hopefully we will all learn from. He balled out of his mind and it is a shame that the last image will be of the technical foul and our students being wrongfully blamed for the technical foul.

The Atlantic 10’s press release (below) clearly states that the crew made errors in the game, and that ultimately, they probably should have found a way to end the game by securing the ball and the floor without the technical foul…but they didn’t. Bonaventure should have won this game if the refs better handled this situation, but they didn’t. It likely cost the team a win. The league’s words this afternoon essentially said “we know the refs blew it, but there’s nothing we can do now.”

It sucks, but it is what it is at this point. The Bonnies need to find a way to rebound from this and finish the season strong and earn a first round bye in Pittsburgh. That is still well within their reach, despite this setback. 

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Statements From St. Bonaventure Athletics Director Tim Kenney and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Schmidt (taken from GoBonnies.com) 

Following today’s announcement by the Atlantic 10 Conference (the full A-10 statement is below) concerning the end of Saturday’s men’s basketball game between St. Bonaventure and VCU, St. Bonaventure Athletics Director Tim Kenney issued the following statement:

“We appreciate the thorough review of the circumstances of Saturday’s men’s basketball game undertaken by Commissioner McGlade and the Atlantic 10 Conference staff. We support their findings as outlined in the A-10’s announcement today.

“After our own extensive review of the video of the final seconds of the game, it is clearly evident that our student body was not the reason for the administrative technical. We appreciate the A-10’s confirmation of that.

“As always, we will continue to review our protocols and identify ways to do things more effectively as we move forward.

“There is nothing that can be done to change the outcome of the game, and I am extremely disappointed for our student-athletes and coaches, whose efforts put them in a position to win. I am confident that our team will continue to compete at a high level the rest of the season and represent themselves and St. Bonaventure University in the first-class manner they always do.”

St. Bonaventure Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Schmidt issued the following statement:

“Comments that I made after last night’s game may have been misconstrued by some people. Our students did not come onto the court until the buzzer sounded. However, to ensure the future safety of everyone – the fans, the players and the officials – we need to put proper protocols in place which will prevent anyone from accessing the court while a game is in progress. We need to work together to ensure a high level of safety. We expect to win. We are as good as any team in the conference. It is unfortunate that some fans felt it necessary to come onto the court before the game concluded. We need to work together to address this properly.”

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Atlantic 10’s Clarification of the VCU-St. Bonaventure End-of-Game Officiating Statement

Although the game officials cited crowd interference as the rationale for assessing the administrative technical foul at the end of regulation in the VCU-St. Bonaventure men’s basketball game, that interpretation was inaccurately associated with the SBU students and fans storming the court during regulation.

The administrative technical foul was assessed for multiple reasons. The most significant was an individual taking the game ball from the inbounding baseline (assuming time had expired) and walking down the sideline, causing the VCU player to look for the ball, and chase the individual to secure the ball for inbound. Simultaneously, one of the game officials collided with a fan on the court, prior to the inbound toss. It was after these violations that the clock expired, and the students and fans stormed the court with :00 on the clock.

As a result of this mis-representation of the administrative technical foul assessed to St. Bonaventure, which reflected poorly on the SBU student body, the officiating crew will be disciplined for not immediately stopping the game for disruption of play.

There were an unfortunate series of events in this game, which impacted both institutions and the A-10 … thus, the conference will continue to work with all involved including the game officials for stronger game management in the future.

 

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