An odd occurrence affected the finish between Purdue and Indiana on Thursday evening.
The Boilermakers closed out a 69-64 victory over their in-state rival, but both teams were left without a star player in the final minute. Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan and Indiana forward Thomas Bryant both fouled out with 44 seconds left — on the same play.
The referees employed a rule that rarely needs using, the result of two officials calling different fouls. Bryant drove toward the basket and made contact with Swanigan, causing the Purdue star to fall to the floor.
One referee signaled a block against Swanigan, while the other called a charge on Bryant. After a brief meeting, the referees assessed a double foul. Since it was both players’ fifth foul, they were both disqualified from play.
After the game, referee Lamont Simpson explained the decision to a pool reporter.
“It’s a rare occurrence that you have this happen where you have one official with the block, the other one with the charge,” Simpson said. “It’s covered by rule, ‘Rule 10, Penalty F.’ The rule is, there shall be no free throws for any double personal or simultaneous personal foul, and the ball shall be put in play at the point of interruption unless one of the fouls is a flagrant foul.”
When asked if the third referee can act as a tiebreaker in such situations, Simpson said, “You can’t pick one. You don’t pick one. You have to go to the rule.”
— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) February 10, 2017
Indiana and Purdue fans rarely agree on much, but they were united in their displeasure for the call that disqualified Swanigan and Bryant.
Swanigan weighed in on the call after the game, saying it “hurts the product of college basketball.”
Swanigan on double foul: "It just wasn't a good call, for either player. It hurts the product of college basketball."
— Kurt Darling (@WIBCKurtDarling) February 10, 2017
It’s easy to see the reasoning behind Swanigan’s assessment. He had 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Bryant scored a team-high 23 points for Indiana. The Boilermakers led 64-59 at the time of the double foul, which disqualified both players at a critical juncture.