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Watch: Refs suspended for EMU game debacle

The Detroit News
EMU coach Rob Murphy

The Mid-American Conference has suspended two of the three officials that worked the Ball State at Eastern Michigan game on Saturday.

The officials were Todd Williams, John Gaston and Robert Kruger; the MAC did not say which two were suspended. They are suspended for two games and will not be considered to work the MAC tournament.

Ball State trailed EMU 87-85 in the second overtime when Ball State's Francis Kiapway attempted a 3-point shot with 17 seconds left. It missed and EMU secured the rebound. That's when the refs swallowed their whistles.

Ball State attempted to foul or get a possession call multiple times but play continued. With about five seconds left, Ball State's Ryan Weber finally ripped the ball away from EMU's Ethan Alvano. Weber traveled before passing to Kiapway, who buried the winning 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left.

Ball State 88, EMU 87.

“It was terrible,” EMU coach Rob Murphy told the Eastern Echo. “All three officials watched us get the rebound and consistently get fouled. ... The officials watched them travel, and they watched them shoot a three."

Murphy added: “You don’t blame the game on officials. But in my 20 years of coaching, that’s the worst ignored call or sequence I’ve ever seen. Those guys did a bad job throughout the game, but in particular on that play."

The MAC's suspension was handed down Sunday.

"The final play of the game was not handled appropriately by several officials and unfortunately took away from what was a highly competitive and entertaining game for the competing students and fans," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. "I along with our membership have higher expectations and as a result have directed our coordinator of men's basketball officials to take appropriate disciplinary action, including multiple-game suspensions."