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Big 12: Operator error likely caused clock stoppages


LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ Two timing errors likely caused by the clock operator occurred in the final seven seconds of regulation play in the Texas Tech-Oklahoma men's basketball, a review of videotape footage by Big 12 officials concluded Tuesday.

Oklahoma tied the Jan. 20 game on a last-second shot at the end of regulation and won in overtime. The game's outcome is not reversible but Big 12 officials are taking steps to ensure there is no repeat incident.

OU will replace the person who was responsible for operating the clock at OU's home games immediately. The man is contracted by the university but is not an employee at OU, Big 12 spokesman Chris Theisen said.

Additionally, as a result of the review, Big 12 officials are requiring officials to use the wireless pack technology to start the clock in the final minute of each half and in any overtime period.

As a backup, game clock operators will continue to start and stop the clock.

Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg said that while mechanical problems could not be completely ruled out and no conclusive information was developed, it appears likely that operator error was the cause of the timing problems.

The last second shot by OU's Hollis Price went through the basket as the buzzer sounded in regulation and the Sooners went on to win in overtime 69-64.

Before Price made his way the length of the court and hit the game-tying shot, the game clock stopped with 6.7 seconds for just under one second and then started again. It stopped when a foul was called with 4.5 seconds remaining.

After Tech's Will Chavis hit two free throws and on the subsequent in-bounds pass to Price, the second timing error occurred when the clock started late by approximately 0.5 seconds.

The delay could have been inadvertent, possibly by accidental contact with the clock control which could have resulted in the clock pausing at the 6.7 seconds mark.

The videotape review also indicated the slow start of the clock at the 4.5 seconds mark may have happened because the clock operator's view of ball contact was blocked by players on the court. Still, the clock was slow in starting, Weiberg said.

``There is too much at stake, and the consequences too great for the school and the other team if something goes wrong with the clock, as poorly as it was handled in our game against Oklahoma,'' Tech coach Bob Knight said Monday on the coaches' conference call. ``I don't think with all that's at stake in games today, that the clock should be handled by somebody that's an employee of the institution. I've always felt that way.''

Schools typically select their own person to operate the clock. The man who handles the men's game clock is a Tech employee.
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