Stevens wanted the ball in Hayward’s hands. Twice during the season—against UCLA and Detroit—Hayward had been fouled at the finish and saved games by making free throws. Not that Butler’s coach expected a reprise of those scenarios.
“I didn’t think they’d call a foul,” Stevens said. “My thought was, ‘Shoot a pull-up if you have it.’ You would just have to get creamed in the national championship game to get a foul call.”
—Butler basketball coach Brad Stevens as quoted in David Woods’ book Underdawgs
Let the players decide the game. It’s a phrase we hear often from coaches, fans, announcers, and players themselves. Referees are criticized for blowing the whistle in the final moments of a close game—they are accused of “making it about them.”
How is a ref calling a legitimate penalty in the final seconds wrong? He is letting the players decide—it was a player who committed the infraction. It’s the ref’s job to call it.