Mich. St. holds off FGCU, 78-77
Eron Harris had 31 points and host No. 13 Michigan State held off Florida Gulf Coast, 78-77, on Sunday when a timekeeping error led to a disputed finish.
With 1.6 seconds remaining, Florida Gulf Coast threw a long inbounds pass from underneath its basket. But the clock incorrectly started when the pass was thrown, rather than when Antravious Simmons caught the ball by the foul line at the other end of the court.
So as Simmons turned to try a game-winning shot, the buzzer sounded — much too early. Simmons missed his attempt, but FGCU players looked confused and coach Joe Dooley sought an explanation.
Officials went to a video review as players and fans waited to find out if the game was over. Following the delay, the play stood and Michigan State escaped.
Harris made six 3-pointers and Miles Bridges added 13 points for the Spartans (2-2), who shot a season-best 51 percent from the field. They hit 52.9 percent of their attempts from beyond the 3point line, but struggled at the free-throw line (57.6 percent).
Florida Gulf Coast (1-3) got 18 points apiece from Brandon Goodwin and Simmons, who added 12 rebounds. RaySean Scott Jr. scored 14. Duke tops Rhode Island: Luke Kennard scored 24 points and top-ranked Duke beat No. 21 Rhode Island, 75-65, in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off title game in Uncasville, Conn.
The sophomore guard made eight of his 11 shots from the floor, including four of five from 3-point range for the Blue Devils (4-1). Amile Jefferson added 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Jared Terrell led Rhode Island (4-1) with 22 points, and Martin Hassan added 15. Duke held Rams star E.C. Matthews to nine points, more than 10 below his season average. Kentucky bolsters backcourt: Five-star point guard Quade Green committed to Kentucky.
Green chose the Wildcats over Syracuse, although Villanova, Temple and Duke were also on his final list of five schools.
Green, from NeumannGoretti (Pa.) High, is ranked No. 22 in the ESPN 100 for 2017.
Center Nicklas Backstrom offered an uncharacteristically blunt take in front of his locker, still fuming over the high-sticking penalty that ultimately dealt the Capitals a 3-2 defeat against the Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Backstrom had been baffled by the call as soon as the whistle blew, and he grew even more sour once it led to forward Alexander Wennberg’s game-winner on the ensuing power play with 53.6 seconds left in regulation.
While chasing the puck with less than two minutes left in the third period, Backstrom reached out with his stick in front of Columbus captain Nick Foligno’s face. Foligno snapped his head back.
“I didn’t touch him,” Backstrom said. “It was really weird I got a penalty there.”
Capitals coach Barry Trotz deemed Foligno’s actions “a little bit disrespectful to the game” and called on the NHL to issue some form of discipline for diving.
“The league will look at that and we have fines for that,” Trotz said. “I wouldn’t be too happy if I was the referee.”
That was where the game might have hinged. With the two offenses hurting for good shots — Maryland shot 35.3 percent overall; Towson, 36.5 percent — Tigers coach Pat Skerry pointed to the free-throw line. The Terps attempted nine more — and made 11 more — free throws than did Towson.
“We came in here, to be perfectly honest, expecting to win,” Skerry said. “We played hard. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
The first half wasn’t pretty. There were so many early fouls — both teams were in the bonus by the 10-minute mark — and awful-looking 3-pointers that the soundtrack for the game seemed to be alternating tracks of whistles and chants of “Air ball!”
Without reserve center Michal Cekovsky (sprained foot) and guard Dion Wiley (stomach virus), Maryland was noticeably short-handed at times. At one point in the first half, the Terps hadthree point guards on the court: Trimble, Cowan and Jaylen Brantley. Average height: about 6 feet 1.