Arizona Wildcats basketball: Pac-12 official still wonders about Colorado shot

2013-10-10T17:23:00Z 2013-10-10T17:30:46Z Arizona Wildcats basketball: Pac-12 official still wonders about Colorado shotBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 10, 2013 5:23 pm  • 

PHOENIX – The memory of Sabatino Chen's controversially disallowed three-pointer last season might never leave official Verne Harris' mind.

Or his pocket.

The crew chief for Arizona's 92-83 win over Colorado last Jan. 5, Harris keeps a screen shot of the would-be game winner on his iPhone's camera roll.

"I've got two different looks at this thing," Harris said. "It was so weird a play."

Harris was one of about 150 officials on hand today from six Western conferences who took in breakout sessions intended to create better knowledge and consistency, a goal of Pac-12/Mountain West officials coordinator Bobby Dibler.

So when he attended one session today titled "A-typical Plays With Monitor Review" -- and the Chen play predictably popped up -- Harris couldn't help but chime in.

Harris, who said he has received death threats from Colorado fans, told his fellow officials during the session that all three officials’ phones “blew up” once they returned to the locker room after the game.

Some of the text messages were from fellow officials. Of those, he said, the first one said he got the call wrong, the second said he got it right and a third said simply, “I’m glad it wasn’t me.”

During a brief interview after the session, Harris said the most difficult issue was determining when the clock was really at zero, since the TV clock was slower than the clocks above the backboard -- and one of the shots Harris carries on his phone shows that the McKale clocks may have been 0.1 seconds apart. Officials consider the clock the ultimate time judge, since the backboard light and horn typically lag behind the zeros.

"It's science," Harris said.

Harris said all three officials agreed that, with the clock appearing to be at 0.0 on the monitor replays, there was not separation between Chen's hands and the ball. So the shot was called off, sending the game into overtime, fuel in the Buffs' fire (and eventual revenge)...while putting doubt in Harris' mind.

“It was by far the hardest (final shot) play I’ve ever seen,” Harris said afterward. “You know what? Half the time I think I got it right. Other times I think I got it wrong. I really don’t know. Even to this day.”

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