Lamar Stevens knew it was a foul, and anyone watching Thursday night’s matchup between Penn State and Purdue in Happy Valley thought the same.
In the closing seconds of regulation holding an 85-83 lead over the Boilermakers, Stevens drove the ball to the basket, hoping to give the Nittany Lions a four-point lead either with a layup or at the foul line. As he headed to the basket, Nojel Eastern swatted the ball out of his hands and went out of bounds, giving the ball to Purdue with :13 remaining.
The problem? Stevens was clearly grabbed by Eastern, forcing the ball to come loose. But the officials swallowed the whistle, giving the ball back to the Boilers. Carsen Edwards hit a game-tying layup with :05 left, sending the game to overtime.
Purdue outscored Penn State 14-5 in the overtime period, posting a 99-90 win.
Here’s the video of the missed call from Thursday night’s game:
Let's see here, no call and it's not even in question, so not fair to Penn State here the shouldn't be in OT. pic.twitter.com/xyN6HTGzBt
— Kedric Prince (@KedPrince4) February 1, 2019
Stevens knew he was fouled during the game. He knew it when he headed off the court and went into the locker room. And when he saw instant replay, it just validated his argument.
“It’s very frustrating, you see it across all sports. I think refs need help,” Stevens said, according to Ben Jones of StateCollege.com. “Especially at the end of games in game deciding plays. It was a blatant foul. I saw the video, it was a blatant foul. Refs need help.
“That could have cost us the game if you think about it. That was a foul that should have been called, it was blatant. So it was very frustrating at the point that I am as a player and everything, I give to the Big Ten being in this league it’s crazy and it hurts. It hurts for me, it hurts for my teammates and I’m hurting for coach because I think he did a great job too.”
Thursday night’s loss was particularly difficult for Penn State, which is now 0-10 in B1G games and 7-14 on the season. It was the seventh time this season the Lions have lost a game by seven points or less or the game has been decided in overtime.
But this one stings a little more than the rest. Stevens knew he should’ve at least had the opportunity to ice the game from the free throw line. Instead, it ended in another disappointment.