Bucky Dent. Bill Buckner. Doug Penno.
The Zips felt the MAC Championship slip out of their hands as Penno banked in a 3-pointer with time expiring to win 53-52.
Officials used 10 minutes to review the play and upheld it, thus solidifying one of the most spectacular endings to a college basketball game you will see all March.
TV replays showed what MAC officials did not see: the clock started between 1.3 and 1.6 seconds late after a missed Cedrick Middleton foul shot. Penno released his shot with 1.3 seconds left as Nick Dials threw a hand in his face.
Somehow, all that ended with the opposite of what should have happened. WHEN YOU START THE CLOCK LATE, THERE SHOULD BE LESS ACTUAL TIME REMAINING. Instead, the officials added 0.6 seconds to the clock, which allowed for a one-in-a-million pass from Quade Milum that sailed out of bounds.
It's really no surprise to me. MAC officials have been subpar -- and even downright pathetic this season -- going so far as to steal a win from Bowling Green. If the MAC is worth a ****, commissioner Rick Chryst will sit down tonight or tomorrow morning to see if Penno's shot should have counted.
If so, that's fine. Miami overachieved its way to a MAC Championship and Charlie Coles is a miracle worker.
If not, the MAC must decide between what is right (giving Akron the MAC Championship) and what is easy (offering an empty apology). Don't hold your breath.
As far as basketball goes, Akron's offense was mostly absent. The Zips tallied only three assists. I don't think I've ever seen a total that low. Jeremiah Wood was Akron's only option. He scored 17 and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Akron played not to lose late in the game. If the prevent defense has taught us anything, it's that strategy is about as effective as using your fingers to stop a cereal bowl-sized leak in a boat. One thing did impress me: Romeo Travis drilling two foul shots to give Akron a 52-50 lead.
Miami's Tim Pollitz rightfully earned the Tournament MVP award. He scored 19, mostly on nifty post moves.
To be honest, this really hasn't sunk in with me. Sure, I'm a journalist. But I'm a fan, too. We were jogging toward the floor to charge the court after the supposed Akron win. I nearly threw up when I saw AK-Rowdies walking back up the stairs yelling the f-word and saying the Zips lost.
When my dad called afterward, I could only compare it to seeing Jose Mesa blow a save in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
It would be a little easier to swallow if I knew Penno's shot was legitimate. Everything I've heard suggests otherwise. (Of course, everything I've heard has come from biased sources, Keith Dambrot and Steve French.)
I feel bad for Middleton. He plays with incredible heart and effort. To see him be responsible for a giant choke is awful.
Someone needs to explain to me, however, how Dru Joyce can go an entire game without an assist. He played a subpar tournament. Travis was OK. If Akron held onto that lead, you can bet Wood is the Tournament MVP.
So it looks like Akron is heading for the NIT, which should be stacked this year. It should be interesting to see how the NCAA runs it. Miami, meanwhile, is one of the worst teams the MAC has sent to the NCAA in a long time. They will lose by 20.
Ah, who cares?
Stevi Large placed 14th in the weight throw at the NCAA Championships.
That concludes the indoor track season.