The officiating at the end of the Auburn-College of Charleston 2018 NCAA Tournament game was a mess, as many believed that a College of Charleston shooter was fouled while attempting a game-tying 3-pointer. But the officials also appeared to have an even bigger gaffe, as it sent the wrong Auburn player to the free-throw line.
The play in question came after the controversial 3-point attempt. Auburn freshman Chuma Okeke secured the rebound and was fouled by Cameron Johnson. But Auburn’s Jared Harper ended up at the free-throw line, making 1-of-2 attempts to push Auburn’s lead to 62-58 which was the final score.
Below you can see the NCAA’s statement on what happened.
The official called the foul, briefly turned his head toward the scorers table and then turned his head back to the basket where the foul occurred. When he did so, Auburn’s Jared Harper was holding the ball because Chuma (Okeke) gave it to him just as he grabbed the rebound. The official pointed to Harper, identifying him as the shooter. Had any of the officials been aware of this or had anyone on the officiating crew [been notified] to the fact that the wrong player was at the foul line, the officials would have been able to review the play and determine Chuma should’ve been the shooter.
Harper is an 82-percent free-throw shooter on the season while Okeke is only a 69-percent shooter. Auburn was still in excellent position to win the game, but it is not a good look for the officials to miss a call at the end of the game. Harper finished the game with 6 points, while Okeke finished with 2.
Auburn advanced with the narrow win and will now take on Clemson in the second round. The teams tipoff in San Diego on Sunday at 7:10 p.m. The game will air on CBS.