WATCH: Utah State 3-pointer-alley-oop play leads to rulebook controversy vs. Portland State


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Every now and then, there are instances where routine plays made in a game are interrupted by something unorthodox, leading to the matter being left up to interpretation of the rule book. An exercise in that occurred in Tuesday night’s game between Utah State and Portland State, when a weird ruling was triggered after a half-court shot resulted in only two points.

In the first half, Aggies’ guard¬†Max Shulga came up with the ball after a missed Vikings’ 3-point attempt, and he appeared to toss an alley-oop from mid-court — and well behind the 3-point line — intended for teammate Brandon Horvath. But Shulga’s pass ended up sailing up and away from Horvath and straight into the net — which, under normal circumstances, would have been counted as a three-pointer.

However, that isn’t what happened.¬†According to Utah State’s Ajay Salvesen, the referees ruled that because Shulga was attempting to pass the ball instead of make a shot, his basket counted as two points instead of three. Despite the initial ruling, the referees’ decision was reversed at halftime to give Shulga credit for a three-pointer.

In all likelihood, the confusion over whether or not Shulga’s net counted as two or three points likely stems from the NCAA rule book: According to language in the rule book, the rules make note of what is considered a “try”, and also that a try for three points occurs when the try “leaves the player’s hand when that player last touched the floor outside the three-point line with at least one foot in contact with the playing floor behind the line and the other foot not contacting the line or the playing floor in front of that line.”

The mini-controversy ultimately had no bearing on the outcome of the game, as Utah State cruised to an 81-62 victory.



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