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Arizona basketball: The Wildcats really scored 69 points Sunday, not 68

Mark Lyons

Mark Lyons was better driving to the basket Sunday than he was shooting jumpers anyway. Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sports

Senior point guard Mark Lyons and the Arizona Wildcats were robbed of one point Sunday, and there’s nothing they can do about it now.

Seemingly everybody that mattered missed the fact that a jump shot from Lyons at 19:24 of the second half should have counted for three points against Utah, not two. Replays show his feet clearly behind the arc.

The on-line box score tied to the official stat program actually initially credited Lyons with a 3-point shot, but the basket quickly was downgraded to a two.

(In my updating game blog Sunday, I quickly wrote that Lyons hit a 3-pointer, but then had to go back and change the wording to a “long 2-pointer.” Yeah, a really long 2-pointer.)

None of the three on-court officials, who were out of rotation and didn’t have a good look, signaled for a 3-point shot. Lyons launched the shot from in front of the UA bench, but nobody on the Arizona side made a fuss about the missing point.

The UA sports information director for basketball, Richard Paige, who has access to the official scorer, couldn’t see Lyons’ feet from his courtside seat, so he didn’t raise any red flags. A Pac-12 representative, who monitors the game courtside for plays that could be reviewed by the game officials, didn’t make any noise, either.

The Pac-12 Networks announcers called it a 2-point basket and moved on.

It was just one of those things that everybody, for one reason or another, seemed to miss. If Utah noticed, it wasn’t going to say anything.

But it really was a 3-pointer, and Arizona knows it … now. Paige brought the issue to the attention of Dave Hirsch, the Pac-12 vice president for communications. The reply: Once the officials leave the court after the game, the numbers in the official scorebook are correct and final.

So, by rule, you can’t go back and add a point for Lyons and Arizona, even with indisputable video evidence.

The score could have been changed during the game with a replay review, not after.

Lyons’ shot made the score 37-25, and the Cats held on to win 68-64 in the Huntsman Center. He had a team-high 18 points, but he’ll forever be 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the game, not 2 of 10. He had a hard time buying a 3-pointer, even he was making a 3-pointer.

His stats aren’t of a major concern, but imagine the uproar if that one point had been the difference between an Arizona victory and overtime, or overtime and an Arizona loss.

“I really care,” coach Sean Miller said Tuesday about the blown call.

“When that ball goes in and counts for three, and they give you two, that’s a major problem. … I don’t want to comment on it beyond that. At the end of the day, I’m glad it didn’t cost us the game.”

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