Hung: Why you are wrong and the refs are right

Posted on April 1, 2014 by

Categories: D1, videos

Hung: Why you are wrong and the refs are right

The play of the weekend that is getting all of the attention is Carolina’s Joey Sankey hanging up a Hopkins defender and standing behind the cage for two minutes without getting a timer-on situation. It sparked a firestorm from some vocal advocates of a shot clock, praise from others and questions from more as to why this was not a stall, but Virginia was given a timer-on the very next day.

First, let’s clarify what the rule is in this situation. The rulebook states:

“If the offensive team has the ball in the attack area and the defensive team is not playing the ball, no stall warning will be issued until either (1) the defensive team attempts to play the ball or (2) the offensive team brings the ball outside the attack area.”

In addition, before each season the NCAA clarifies certain rules and releases points of emphasis. Check out Rules and Officiating video released prior to this season.

Link: http://s3.amazonaws.com/ncaa/web_video/lacrosse/2014/2014MLxRulesOfficiating.mp4

At the 18:00 mark, this shows a video example of a Duke player getting hung up above the cage and states “At this point the defense should not be rewarded for getting themselves out of position. Rather, off-ball offense should help determine whether or not a timer on should be initiated.”

In the example in the video, Notre Dame’s off-ball offensive players were not making efforts to get open and cut to the cage. As a result, the officials ruled that the offense was not making an effort to score and a timer-on situation was initiated.

In the Sankey play, you can clearly see his teammates cutting to the cage, trying to get open and being threats to score.

Now that you know all of this information. Here are few points:

  1. The call was right by the refs. The defense did not try to engage at X. Meanwhile, all five off-ball players were making efforts to be an offensive threat.
  2. The move was brilliant on North Carolina’s part. You are up 2 goals in the fourth quarter. Why not milk a few minutes off the clock while retaining possession?
  3. Hopkins was too passive defensively. It took them two minutes to try to flush him out from X. Not only does this waste time, but it tires out the rest of your defense. Would you want Peyton Manning throwing to cutting receivers without any pass rush? I’m sure coaches all over the country are talking about what the defense can do to avoid this situation in the future.
  4. The credit also needs to go to Sankey’s teammates. They were likely as aware as Sankey was of this rule and how the refs will interpret it, and kept moving and cutting so the timer on wouldn’t get called. If at any time they had stopped moving off-ball, a timer-on would have been called.

And that brings us to the Maryland-Virginia game on Sunday. With 6:15 left in the fourth quarter, Virginia gets possession of the ball. With 5:42 left in the game Owen Van Arsdale gets Maryland’s Brian Cooper hung up above the GLE. At 5:22, the refs put on a timer-on situation.

Eamon McAnaney comments… “We did not get the timer-on yesterday, we get the timer on today. So you are rewarding Maryland for getting hung up on defense right there. “

Comments like this are often borne out of ignorance of the rule (never mind the fact that Maryland had a two goal lead and rewarding them would have meant letting Virginia burn more clock, not starting the timer-on). Rather than focusing on what might be perceived as an inconsistency, broadcasters should be explaining the rule to their audience.

Since the defense is not playing the ball, the focus here should be on: Did the off-ball players for Virginia make efforts to be an offensive threat? If not, then the timer-on was warranted, because the offense would have been purposefully not making an effort to score.

Now, off-ball offensive players did move for Virginia, but their movements were more lateral in nature than North-South as scoring threats. I do think there can be some room for argument here as to whether their off-ball movement was interpreted correctly. At the same time, the only obvious cutting towards the cage came right after the ref called timer on. This was very different than what UNC did.

For those of you complaining about the inconsistencies of interpretation of this rule in this situation, I think the more legitimate criticism needs to be that there needs to be clarification as to what the refs are looking for off-ball to prevent or cause a timer-on – and how is it interpreted in a situation like Virginia, where there’s some lateral movement, but nothing overtly indicating off-ball players are trying to score.

As for Sankey and UNC, they seem to have the rule interpretation down perfectly.

 

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  • Anonymous

    Some of the most annoying live commentary I’ve heard from in a while. We get it, you want a shot clock.

  • Josh

    Why is it on the offense to remedy this particular situation? The defense is the one who fell out of position. As far as I see it, they got beat! Accept that you lost position and go play the ball and try to recover, or accept that you are choosing not to challenge the man behind the goal! A shot clock forces the offense to make a move, even if it isn’t the one they want… the defense should be forced to make this move, even if it isn’t the on they want.. because they are the ones who got beat. That may sound repetitive, thoughts?

  • Josh

    Why is it on the offense to remedy this particular situation? The defense is the one who fell out of position. As far as I see it, they got beat! Accept that you lost position and go play the ball and try to recover, or accept that you are choosing not to challenge the man behind the goal! A shot clock forces the offense to make a move, even if it isn’t the one they want… the defense should be forced to make this move, even if it isn’t the on they want.. because they are the ones who got beat. That may sound repetitive, thoughts?

  • Scriff

    Great article, thanks for clarifying the rules for everyone. I too was a bit confused with the perceived inconsistency with the stall rule, so you helped clear it up for me. Also, while watching a game on tv the movement of off ball players is not always evident. This is where a good color guy should step in, let us know what’s going on, and explain the rules. While I normally like Eamon’s calls, he needed to step off of his soap box for a bit.

    With all that said however, and stalling or not, it is terribly boring to watch slowly progressing games. I would like to see the addition of a shot clock to speed up the game, add to the excitement, and most of all to simplify the rules.

  • Scriff

    Great article, thanks for clarifying the rules for everyone. I too was a bit confused with the perceived inconsistency with the stall rule, so you helped clear it up for me. Also, while watching a game on tv the movement of off ball players is not always evident. This is where a good color guy should step in, let us know what’s going on, and explain the rules. While I normally like Eamon’s calls, he needed to step off of his soap box for a bit.

    With all that said however, and stalling or not, it is terribly boring to watch slowly progressing games. I would like to see the addition of a shot clock to speed up the game, add to the excitement, and most of all to simplify the rules.

  • Scriff

    Great article, thanks for clarifying the rules for everyone. I too was a bit confused with the perceived inconsistency with the stall rule, so you helped clear it up for me. Also, while watching a game on tv the movement of off ball players is not always evident. This is where a good color guy should step in, let us know what’s going on, and explain the rules. While I normally like Eamon’s calls, he needed to step off of his soap box for a bit.

    With all that said however, and stalling or not, it is terribly boring to watch slowly progressing games. I would like to see the addition of a shot clock to speed up the game, add to the excitement, and most of all to simplify the rules.

  • Scriff

    Great article, thanks for clarifying the rules for everyone. I too was a bit confused with the perceived inconsistency with the stall rule, so you helped clear it up for me. Also, while watching a game on tv the movement of off ball players is not always evident. This is where a good color guy should step in, let us know what’s going on, and explain the rules. While I normally like Eamon’s calls, he needed to step off of his soap box for a bit.

    With all that said however, and stalling or not, it is terribly boring to watch slowly progressing games. I would like to see the addition of a shot clock to speed up the game, add to the excitement, and most of all to simplify the rules.

  • Scriff

    Great article, thanks for clarifying the rules for everyone. I too was a bit confused with the perceived inconsistency with the stall rule, so you helped clear it up for me. Also, while watching a game on tv the movement of off ball players is not always evident. This is where a good color guy should step in, let us know what’s going on, and explain the rules. While I normally like Eamon’s calls, he needed to step off of his soap box for a bit.

    With all that said however, and stalling or not, it is terribly boring to watch slowly progressing games. I would like to see the addition of a shot clock to speed up the game, add to the excitement, and most of all to simplify the rules.

  • MPowers1634

    As a ref, I truly appreciate this explanation that uses the language of the book!
    As a fan, I applaud UNC and Sankey for knowing how to manipulate the rule.
    As a realist, I loathe this play and agree with Eamon that the game needs a visible shot clock.

  • MPowers1634

    As a ref, I truly appreciate this explanation that uses the language of the book!
    As a fan, I applaud UNC and Sankey for knowing how to manipulate the rule.
    As a realist, I loathe this play and agree with Eamon that the game needs a visible shot clock.

  • RFeathers

    Can you explain why the timer on call does occur at the end of the video once the JHU defender goes to play the man with the ball then? Did the off ball players for Carolina finally stop being considered “threats” at that point? If it should not have been considered a call seconds before that when the man was hung up why all of the sudden is it a moment later suddenly a stall situation?

  • RFeathers

    Can you explain why the timer on call does occur at the end of the video once the JHU defender goes to play the man with the ball then? Did the off ball players for Carolina finally stop being considered “threats” at that point? If it should not have been considered a call seconds before that when the man was hung up why all of the sudden is it a moment later suddenly a stall situation?

  • RFeathers

    Can you explain why the timer on call does occur at the end of the video once the JHU defender goes to play the man with the ball then? Did the off ball players for Carolina finally stop being considered “threats” at that point? If it should not have been considered a call seconds before that when the man was hung up why all of the sudden is it a moment later suddenly a stall situation?