Big Ten admits its officials shouldn't have allowed Ohio State's buzzer-beater vs. Rutgers

Ohio State's Tanner Holden, front, celebrates his game-winning basket against Rutgers with Zed Key during an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State got the win over Rutgers on Thursday. It shouldn't have. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

It's official. No. 25 Ohio State's buzzer-beating win over Rutgers, the most thrilling ending of Big Ten men's basketball play so far this season, should not have counted.

The conference released a statement Friday admitting its officials missed a call at the end of Thursday's game, in which Buckeyes guard Tanner Holden made a 3-pointer as time expired to give his team a 67-66 win at home.

With five seconds left and down two points, Ohio State's Bruce Thornton got the ball after a missed Rutgers free throw. Strong defense by the Scarlet Knights forced Thornton toward the sideline with no chance at a quality shot, but the freshman "luckily" found Holden a few feet ahead near the sideline. One pass later, Holden blew the roof off the Schottenstein Center.

Unfortunately, you might notice in the following video that Holden was out of bounds when Thornton made the pass:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The rules dictate that a player must not be the first person to touch the ball after coming in from out-of-bounds, which Holden clearly was. There was another video showing Thornton might have slightly stepped out of bounds as well.

The officials still gave Ohio State the win, improving its record to 7-2.

One day later, the Big Ten was admitting the shot indeed shouldn't have counted and its officials "missed the call." The conference said it had addressed the matter with both schools and the officiating crew, and will be giving its officials a refresher on the rules.

The full statement:

The Big Ten Conference has reviewed the officiating from The Ohio State University (OSU) and Rutgers University (Rutgers) men's basketball game on December 9, 2022, at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.

During regulation play, an OSU student-athlete passed the ball to a teammate who had drifted out of bounds and returned to the court to complete the game-winning shot. The action of stepping out of bounds and being the first player to touch the ball after retuming inbounds constituted a violation of NCAA Rule 9, Section 3, Article 1. The play should have been stopped, and the ball ruled dead.

The officiating crew that was on the court is one of the best in country, but unfortunately missed the call. The Big Ten Conference takes officiating very seriously and has addressed the matter with both member institutions and the officiating crew. Additionally, the conference will be providing added education and rule reinforcement to our basketball officials.

That statement won't be any comfort to Rutgers, which was looking for back-to-back wins over ranked opponents. The Scarlet Knights beat then-No. 10 Indiana last Saturday.