Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Carl Walton are done.
The officials who messed up the controversial ending to Wednesday’s St. John’s-Rutgers game have “voluntarily” withdrawn from the rest of the Big East tournament.
“Our officials are a very dedicated and loyal group of professionals who care deeply about The Big East Conference,” Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. “In the best interests of everyone involved — including coaches, student-athletes, game officials and Big East member institutions — the officials who were assigned to the St. John’s-Rutgers game Wednesday have voluntarily withdrawn for the remainder of the 2011 Big East Championship. With three days of competition remaining, it is our hope that everyone will now focus on our outstanding teams and the exciting games ahead.”
Burr, Higgins and Walton could still work the NCAA tournament because the Big East has no control over which officials are chosen for that.
“I can’t talk, I apologize,” Burr said when approached at halftime of the UConn-Pitt game at MSG.
Rutgers lost Wednesday’s game 65-63 but the Big East acknowledged two officiating errors related to the final play in which St. John’s forward Justin Brownlee traveled, stepped out of bounds and threw the ball into the stands with 1.7 seconds left.
In response to the debacle, the New York Post ran a backpage headline that read “$#!T STORM.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a morning radio program: “We could not believe the lack of discipline at the end of that game that the referees imposed,” adding that the officials “phoned it in.”
St. John’s and Rutgers had no official comment.
Rutgers coach Mike Rice had no comment Thursday, but on Wednesday he said: “No, was there a mistake made? I saw it on YouTube….We have the greatest officials in America.”
**Big East acknowledges errors after St. John’s beats Rutgers
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.