I became a lifeguard when I was 16. To do so meant I had to take a seven-week training course at the Red Bank YMCA. In between learning how to give CPR and proper scissor-kick technique, the inevitable Baywatch conversation came up.
I asked one of the instructors what he thought of the lifeguards on the show. He told me that they were terrible, terrible lifeguards. I asked if it was because of their technique or because they don't follow procedure. His response was something like...
"You show me a lifeguard with 50 saves and I'll show you a terrible lifeguard. A good lifeguard prevents the need to ever make a save."
I think of basketball referees much the same way I think of lifeguards. The less I know you exist, the better you probably are at your job.
Karl Hess, we know who you are now.
No. 3 Syracuse Orange snuck past the West Virginia Mountaineers, 63-61, in a controversial finish at the Carrier Dome.
With West Virginia down by two, Darryl Bryant missed a three-pointer for the Mountaineers. Deniz Kilicli grabbed a big offensive rebound and went up for a layup. However, Baye Moussa Keita pinned the ball against the glass in what seemed to be an easy goaltending call. The whistles stayed silent on the court, though, and West Virginia kept the ball with 6.2 seconds to go after Kris Joseph fell out of bounds with the basketball.
Kevin Jones' shot from beyond the arc was off the mark as time expired.
Look, I don't feel good about winning knowing that a referee made a mistake. That said...whatever. If you want to win the game, win the game, West Virginia. Make that three-pointer. Make tons of other shots you missed during the course of the game.
I don't mean to be a dick about it, it's just that Syracuse has been on your side of this so many times, I don't really know what to tell you. Sucks, but, blame the Big East for hiring crap referees, not us.
(And if anyone tells me the refs favor Syracuse I'm going to have an epileptic fit, recover and then laugh maniacally while compiling a list of every horrible call that's gone against Syracuse in the past 20 years that I can remember. Actually, that sounds like a lot of work. Please don't say that...)
Brandon Triche had 18 points for the Orange, who improved to 22-1 (9-1) and have won two in a row since a loss to Notre Dame. Syracuse also improved to 15-0 at the Carrier Dome this season.
West Virginia outrebounded SU by a startling 41-20. The Orange also struggled from three-point range. Throw in the fact that Rakeem Christmas struggled mightily and it's a wonder SU won the game. Kinda makes it impressive, really.
Obviously, missing Fab Melo hurt the Orange again. Along with rebounding and the struggles of our big men, SU scored under 70 for the third-straight game. The Orange only scored under 70 points in a game twice before this run.
Kevin Jones ended with 20 points and eight boards for the Mountaineers. Bryant and Gary Browne donated 12 and 11 points, respectively.
All West Virginia can do now is tuck that away in their back pocket and hope they get a chance to pay us back in the BET. Otherwise, it's on to the next game. For the Orange, that would be against the St. Johns Red Storm in our other home, Madison Square Garden, on Saturday.