Memphis’ ignored timeout is March Madness’ most controversial moment

The match No. 8 vs. No. 9 between the Memphis Tigers and Florida Atlantic Owls was always profiled as one of the best opening round games of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament. Coming off an improbable run to the American Athletic Conference tournament championship, Memphis had a few very good players, while FAU came in 31-3 and had been the best mid-major in the country all season.

The game was a dramatic back-and-fourth brawl with so many tense moments that defined the action. Florida Atlantic defeated Memphis 66-65 on a Nicholas Boyd basket with two seconds remaining. However, it was a moment that occurred just before the winner of the game that turned the outcome completely upside down.

Memphis took a one-point lead with 34 seconds left when senior big man Deandre Williams got a tip. Florida Atlantic’s Johnell Davis then missed a layup, Memphis got the rebound, and the Owls were suddenly at a point where they had to foul to go into overtime. At least it seemed that way until a wild Memphis wrap sparked a frantic run that concluded with a controversial umpires decision. Watch the whole thing here:

Florida Atlantic got the tail, but Davis was stripped trying to drive the ball to the basket. Memphis recovered the loose ball to the ground, but Florida Atlantic tied them up and had the possession arrow. FAU got the ball and Boyd won the game with a driving basket.

However, it appeared that Memphis called timeout before FAU tied them up. Virtually the entire Memphis team called a timeout, but the umpires did not grant it. Here’s another angle.

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

Reactions on Twitter were heated, and not just from Memphis fans.

It was a rough night for Memphis all around. Tigers star guard Kendric Davis hurt his ankle in the second half but returned to the game with less than 100 percent. Teammate DeAndre Williams was in trouble all night, playing the last 12 minutes with four fouls. Meanwhile, FAU continued to improve the Tigers’ lead, despite cold shooting nights from some of their best players.

Here’s the winner of Boyd’s game:

Florida Atlantic won its first men’s NCAA tournament ever. FAU now has a second round matchup with … Fairleigh Dickinson, who became the second No. 16 seed ever to defeat a No. 1 seed earlier in the day when they defeated Purdue.

March Madness can be so cruel at times. Memphis learned that the hard way.

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