The San Diego State Aztecs made their first Final Four in program history on Sunday thanks to a thrilling 57-56 victory over the Creighton Bluejays. The game came down to the wire and ended with plenty of controversy, bringing back some memories of the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
With the game tied at 56-56 and the clock winding down, Creighton's Ryan Nembhard was called for a foul as San Diego State's Darrion Trammell attempted a potential game-winning shot:
Ryan Nembhard of Creighton was called for a shooting foul here on with 1.2 seconds left.
Foul or no foul? 🤔pic.twitter.com/AWOiSzjFnj
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 26, 2023
Trammell missed the first free throw but made the second, giving San Diego State a one-point lead. Creighton needed a miracle and didn't get one, with a home-run pass getting deflected out of bounds. The officials did go to the monitor to review if the Bluejays would get one last chance with ticks left on the clock, but the game was determined over after they took quite a long time to look at the monitor.
The foul call was rather controversial, with several on Twitter immediately thinking of the controversial James Bradberry penalty that helped the Chiefs beat the Eagles:
James Bradberry thinks the official shouldn’t have made that foul call
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) March 26, 2023
Not a fan of that foul, just like I wasn’t a fan of the defensive holding call on James Bradbury
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) March 26, 2023
If it's a foul, it's a foul. Whether it's the end of the Super Bowl, an NCAA regional final or any other time. Why should the offensive player be penalized because of a theoretical change in foul standard at the end of a game?
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) March 26, 2023
While it was a pretty soft foul call, just like Bradberry's (though he admitted he should have been called for a foul), a foul is a foul. It's unfortunate to decide big moments like this, but it's hard to argue that this was the wrong call to make when looking closer at the replay.
San Diego State will now get to face Florida Atlantic in a shocking Final Four matchup. It has been quite the ride for both of these upstarts, and it's a shame that one of them will have to lose next weekend. For now, both of these programs will bask in the glory of their deep NCAA Tournament runs.