Memphis’ skipped timeout is March Madness’ most controversial moment

The No. 8 vs. No. 9 game between the Memphis Tigers and Florida Atlantic Owls has consistently been touted as one of the best games in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament. Memphis was coming off an unlikely championship run in the American Athletic Conference tournament and had some really good players, while FAU came in at 31-3 and had been the nation’s best mid major all season.

The game was a dramatic back-and-forth slugfest with so many tense moments defining the action. Florida Atlantic beat Memphis, 66-65, on a Nicholas Boyd field goal with two seconds left. It was a moment that happened just before the match winner, although it completely swung the result.

Memphis took a one-point lead with 34 seconds left when senior big man Deandre Williams was tipped. Florida Atlantic’s Johnell Davis then missed a layup, Memphis got the rebound, and the Owls were suddenly at a point where they needed to foul to extend the game. At least that seemed to be the case until a savage Memphis turnover sparked a frantic streak capped by a controversial decision from the referees. Watch it all play out here:

Florida Atlantic got the steal, but Davis was stripped when he attempted to drive the ball to the basket. Memphis recovered the loose ball on the ground, but Florida Atlantic tied them up and had the possession arrow. FAU got the ball back and Boyd won the game with a driving field goal.

However, it looked like Memphis had called time out before the FAU tied them up. Virtually the entire Memphis team called a timeout, but the referees did not grant it. Here’s another angle.

It’s close, but it looks like Memphis had time out before an FAU defender arrived.

The reaction on Twitter was stormy, and not just from Memphis fans.

It was a tough night for Memphis. Tigers star goaltender Kendric Davis suffered an ankle injury in the second half but returned to action at less than 100%. Teammate DeAndre Williams was fouled all night and played the final 12 minutes with four fouls. Meanwhile, FAU continued to nib the Tigers lead despite cold shooting nights from some of their best players.

Here is the winner of Boyd’s game:

Florida Atlantic earns its first victory in an NCAA men’s tournament. FAU now has a second-round matchup with … Fairleigh Dickinson, who earlier today became the second No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed when she knocked out Purdue.

March madness can sometimes be so cruel. Memphis found out the hard way.

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