During the next 20 minutes, Allen Iverson had a few flashes of greatness and proved Jadakiss wasn’t lying when he said, “He will blow by you fast / Penetrate and dish it off or let it go high off the glass.” He converted on a blow-by of one of our defenders (I won’t mention any names) and dropped off a nice dime to one of their big men as I stepped up. He also hit a running floater high off the glass over my outstretched arm. Still, our team was up 45-34 at halftime, and I took the personal battle with 13 first-half points to A.I.’s nine points.
Now I would never dare to badmouth a referee, especially in a public setting like this, but I feel that in the second half Allen Iverson got some “superstar” calls — some of which he deserved, but others seemed to come just because of his name. I’ve attempted to referee New York University intramural basketball, and it’s not an easy task. So if it’s a bang-bang call and you side with Iverson every once in awhile, it’s OK. But I swore it seemed like he drew 12 fouls in the second half. At the end of the game, their team shot 39 free throws to our 23.
With Iverson’s team clawing their way back into the game, the fans on both sides were getting a little testy. At one point during the fourth quarter, I saw a Turkish guy heading over into the Göttingen fan section and he didn’t look too pleasant. After some obscenities and some middle-finger waving, he was forcibly removed from the area. Coach calling for me to re-enter the game quickly put my attention back on the court, but on Allen Iverson’s next drive I was whistled for my 5th and final foul. When I went out it was Göttingen 76, Besiktas 75 with just over two minutes remaining. After that my emotions would be on a roller coaster ride, as their were four lead changes down the stretch.
With 43 seconds left and the score tied at 81-81, Iverson gets the ball. He drives the lane and goes up for a layup, but my teammate Trent Meacham (former Illinois standout) steps in to take the charge, and the referees actually call it. (Like I said, no badmouthing from me.) We come down on offense, miss a three-pointer, and foul Mire Chatman on the rebound. The EuroCup vet goes to the line and calmly knocks down both of his FT’s giving Besikitas a two-point lead. On our ensuing possession, guard Kyle Bailey (Santa Clara) gets a full head of steam and drives directly by Iverson for a game-tying layup. Now there are 19 seconds left, 83-83, and Besiktas calls a timeout to draw up the last shot of the game. Or so they thought.
Now, we play a 24-second shot clock just like the NBA, and there were 19 seconds on the game clock following Bailey’s bucket that tied it up. So I’m not sure why, when Besiktas got the ball, there were 19 seconds on the game clock and 16 seconds on the shot clock. But there was, so Chatman did what most people would do in the situation — points to the clock for 12 seconds and then looks off Iverson to shoot a running three-pointer. (What’s the matter? You wouldn’t do that?) The referees were looking at the clock just like our coach was, just like their coach was, just like all of the players were, and they didn’t blow the whistle. So after Chatman missed his rushed shot, there were still three seconds left in the game. Trent Meacham got the rebound for us, and instead of paying attention to him, Besiktas found it better to run to the referee and complain, giving Trent a clear lane for a final shot. But how far could he actually get in just under three seconds? Allen Iverson and company would soon find out.
Seems that Trent was fast enough to get from three-point line to three-point line in three dribbles and two long steps. As he released the ball with under a second left, I stood up and watched as it fell straight through the net. GAME OVER! Trent Meacham with the buzzer-beater to seal the victory! Or no? Was it a good shot? Was it a three-pointer? Was the shot waived off? These are things that all were unclear right as the game ended, but we mobbed center court as if everything would work out in our favor. And after getting hit with some full beer cups from the Turkish side of the stands, we settled down long enough to shake their hands. At this point, Iverson was already walking to the locker room and their coaches were still complaining at the scorers table.
I heard through the grapevine that Besiktas was protesting the outcome of the game and that, worst case scenario, we may need to play it over again. But I’ve also heard that watching too much TV makes you go blind, 2Pac is still alive, and JFK was shot with a Magic Bullet. You can believe what you want. All I know is that, as it stands right now, we are 2-0 in our EuroCup group and I’m 1-0 lifetime against Allen Iverson. How many of you all can say that?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier today, it was announced that Göttingen (Germany) and Besiktas (Turkey) will replay the entire game that ended under controversy due to the clock malfunction.