The record will show that sophomore E.J. Singler made the game-winning shot with 2 seconds left, lifting Oregon to a 71-69 win over Creighton in the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational.
But the Ducks got a huge assist from the “Deep in the Woods” decor of their new Matthew Knight Arena.
Senior Joevan Catron scored a career-high 29 points for the Ducks, who finished the sesaon at 21-18.
After Garrett Sim tied the game with 34 seconds left before Creighton’s Antoine Young was dribbling the ball near midcourt, trying to milk the clock before taking a final shot. Young stepped back and, with 17 seconds left, was whistled for a backcourt violation.
It didn’t help Young that the midcourt line at the new facility is nearly invisible to that it doesn’t diminish the artsy design of the floor. Hardly a surprise. There have been complaints about the hard-to-see midcourt line since Matthew Knight Arena opened in January.
“I didn’t think the ref was going to call it until one of the (Oregon players) said something,” Young told the Eugene Register Guard. “I think you’re just used to seeing the black line. You don’t really expect it to come into play until it does.”
It worked out wonderfully for the Ducks. “I’m happy they made the court like that now since we got the ball,” Singler said. “It played out right for us and we got the win, so I’m happy about it.
“He had no clue he was behind half court,” Singler added of Young. “You don’t see that on any other court.”
Bluejays coach Greg McDermott certainly agreed. “I can’t see it from (the coaching box) … there is no point of reference when you are getting close to the line,” he said.
It’s time for the Pac-10 Conference office to step in and inform Oregon that it needs a solid black midcourt line like everyone else on the planet. Creativity is great, but not at the expense of a level playing field.
Or, in this case, a visible one.