Ref Collapses 4 Minutes Into Elite 8 Game

Bert Smith was later said to be feeling OK
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2021 2:47 AM CDT
Ref Collapses 4 Minutes Into Elite 8 Game
Referee Bert Smith is taken off the court on a stretcher after collapsing during the first half of an Elite 8 game between Gonzaga and Southern California in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(Newser) – Gonzaga got on a roll and put on a show Tuesday night, moving to 30-0 on the season and cruising into the Final Four with an 85-66 victory over Southern California, the AP reports. But the game was interrupted by a frightening moment early, when official Bert Smith collapsed on the floor and had to be taken off on a stretcher. In the second half, CBS passed along word that Smith was feeling OK and resting in the arena. USA Today reports that it's not clear what caused Smith to fall backward and hit his head on the floor, but he was said to have been feeling lightheaded. He was not taken to a hospital.

As for the game, which was less than four minutes in when Smith collapsed, the top-seeded and top-ranked Bulldogs will be the third team to bring an undefeated record into the Final Four since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The last team to go undefeated was Indiana in 1976. On Saturday in the national semifinals, the Zags will face 11th-seeded UCLA, which beat Michigan 51-49 in a later Elite Eight game. (Read more Gonzaga Bulldogs stories.)

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