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Friday, January 31
 
Big East says Pirates' OT victory will stand

ESPN.com news services

Seton Hall used a couple of extras to beat Georgetown in a Big East basketball game Wednesday night -- overtime and a sixth man on the court.

The Big East acknowledged Thursday that Seton Hall had six men on the court for the final seconds of regulation in a game in which the Pirates won 93-82 in overtime.

"We're dealing with it internally," associate commissioner John Paquette said. "We have spoken with both coaches."

Paquette said the result cannot be changed.

Georgetown coach Craig Esherick, who went on a tirade about the way the officials treated star forward Mike Sweetney in a game against West Virginia earlier this season, refused to comment about his latest problem.

One official, Mike Kitts, worked both the West Virginia and Seton Hall games.

Esherick did tell the Washington Post on Thursday that he got an early-morning phone call from Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and said, "He was calling to offer his condolences."

Esherick would not elaborate, telling the Post: "I have discussed this entire thing for a long time with Mike. Those are my instructions and I'm sticking to 'em."

The mistake happened after Georgetown called a timeout to set up its defense with 12 seconds to go in regulation and the score tied at 72.

When the Pirates walked on the court, no one noticed six players came out.

Esherick didn't see six. Seton Hall coach Louis Orr didn't notice the error and neither did the officials -- Kitts, Les Jones and Fran Connolly.

"We were not aware of it until after the game," Orr said Thursday in the league weekly conference call. "Beyond that, there is nothing else we can say."

There was a tie up with 7 seconds to play, but Seton Hall retained possession.

On the ensuing inbounds play under the basket, Marcus Toney-El fed Damion Fray for an alley-oop dunk and a 74-72 lead with 6.4 seconds to play.

Georgetown rushed the ball up the floor and Gerald Riley scored with 1.9 seconds to play to tie the game and force the overtime.

Seton Hall called another timeout with 2 seconds to play, but a length-of-the-court pass by Greg Morton was stolen.

Pirates spokesman Marie Wozniak believes that Seton Hall only had five players on the court for that play.

If the officials had noticed the six men on the court, they could have called a technical foul on Seton Hall and given the Hoyas two free throws.

"The rules state that you can't go back," Paquette said. "Even if the officials noticed after Seton Hall had scored, they could not have changed that."

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese has spoken with Art Hyland, the league's coordinator of men's basketball officiating, Paquette said. Hyland has spoken with the three officials.

Since the officials are independent contractors, the league cannot take disciplinary action against them, Paquette said. The league could take away future assignments, Paquette said.

Kitts is one of the country's top officials. He works the NCAA Tournament annually, including the Final Four last season.

This is the second time this season a team has tried to play with six players against Georgetown.

South Carolina did the same time earlier this season after the media timeout.

However, the officials noticed the extra man as the Gamecocks began to walk the ball up the floor and they called a technical foul.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.




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