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Photographic Evidence Shows Nike Sibande did not Foul on the Final Play in Pitt’s Victory over UNC



Nike Sibande as Pitt plays against North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 in Chapel Hill. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Pitt earned another incredible win Wednesday night, defeating North Carolina 65-64  in the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The game came down to the final seconds, with both teams failing to score a field goal over the final three and half minutes. Panthers graduate guard Jamarius Burton put Pitt up one with 3.4 seconds left, by making two crucial free throws.

The Tar Heels then moved the ball to inside half court to call a timeout , but wasted important time doing so, allowing themselves only .6 seconds to get off a shot. Junior guard Caleb Love received the inbound, but Panthers redshirt senior guard Nike Sibande jumped in the air and blocked his 3-point attempt to earn the victory.

North Carolina fans booed at the final whistle, as they believed that Sibande fouled Love on the play, which should’ve sent him to the line for three shots.

Despite the home crowd’s cries for that foul, the evidence supporting their belief that Sibande committed a foul on the play is quite slim.

Regardless whether or not Sibande did hit Love’s shooting hand, the time expired before he got the shot off, meaning that it wouldn’t have counted if he didn’t foul him at all.

It’s a close call to the visual eye, but the evidence shows that the ball is in Love’s hand prior to him getting the shot off and also before Sibande made any supposed contact on Love.

Also, the evidence that Sibande fouled Love is not concrete. On replay, Sibande hits the ball prior to hitting Love’s hand, making it clean block, even if the shot would have been prior to the buzzer.

Sibande himself also said that he didn’t foul Love on that final play regardless, making it absolutely certain that he didn’t because why would he lie?

Sibande played a large role in the win against UNC coming off the bench in his usual role as sixth man. He played 29 minutes, scored 10 points, made seven rebounds and one steal to help Pitt achieve an important victory in their hopes for a spot at the NCAA Tournament in March.

Pitt has this weekend off and plays again next Tuesday, Feb. 7 at home against rival Louisville at the Petersen Events Center.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

The best thing to happen with video review is that it eliminates the phantom “legends” foul call. Ten years ago Dean Smith/Mike K get that call because the refs were intimidated by them. Today, the refs know a review will make them look bad.

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