Memphis’ missed timeout is the most controversial moment in March Madness

Matchup No. 8 vs. 9 between the Memphis Tigers and the Florida Atlantic Owls always profiled as one of the best games in the opening round of the 2023 Men’s NCAA Tournament. Memphis was coming off an improbable run to the American Athletic Conference tournament title and had a couple of very good players, while FAU went 31-3 and had been the nation’s best in the middle all season.

The game was a dramatic back-and-forth slugfest with so many tense moments defining the action. Florida Atlantic beat Memphis 66-65 on Nicholas Boyd’s basket with two seconds left. It was a moment that happened right before the game-winner, though it completely turned the outcome around.

Memphis took a one-point lead with 34 seconds left when senior big man Deandre Williams got a tip-in. Florida Atlantic’s Johnell Davis then missed a layup, Memphis got the rebound, and the Owls were suddenly in a position where they needed to foul to keep the game going. Or so it seemed, until a wild turnover by Memphis sparked a heated series that ended with a controversial decision by the referees. See the whole story here:

Florida Atlantic got a steal, but Davis was stripped as he attempted to drive the ball to the basket. Memphis got the loose ball back on the ground, but Florida Atlantic tied them up and got possession. FAU got the ball, and Boyd won the game with a driving basket.

However, it looked like Memphis called a timeout before FAU tied them. In practice, the entire Memphis team demanded a timeout, but the referees did not grant it. Here’s another perspective.

It’s close, but it looks like Memphis called a timeout before the FAU defender arrived.

The reaction on Twitter was intense, and not just from Memphis fans.

It was a tough night for Memphis across the board. Tigers star guard Kendric Davis injured his ankle in the second half, but returned to the game at less than 100 percent. Teammate DeAndre Williams was in foul trouble all night, playing the final 12 minutes with four fouls. Meanwhile, FAU continued to lead the Tigers despite cold shooting conditions from some of its best players.

Here’s the game winner from Boyd:

Florida Atlantic has won its first ever men’s NCAA Tournament. FAU now has a pair of second-round matchups … Fairleigh Dickinson, who earlier in the day became the second 16th seed to ever beat a No. 1 seed when they knocked off Purdue.

March Madness can be so brutal at times. Memphis learned that the hard way.

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