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Prominent NU alum takes issue with officiating in Michigan State-Northwestern game

One well-known alum of Northwestern thought the referees gave the Spartans an unfair advantage in Saturday's basketball game

Michigan State men's basketball suffered its first defeat in Big Ten play on Saturday, 64-62, when they hosted Northwestern.

While the Wildcats came away with the road victory, one alumnus from Northwestern took exception to the way the game was officiated, particularly in the final minute of the game.

ESPN's Mike Greenberg is a 1989 graduate of Northwestern University and, like many popular television personalities, has never shied away from his love for his alma mater in sporting events.

On Saturday, with the Wildcats leading Michigan State by two points, there were two whistles that could be construed as "controversial" calls in the final seconds.

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The first came with under three seconds, after Northwestern had secured a defensive rebound. Two Wildcats had simultaneous of the ball, which was correctly ruled a travelling violation by the nearest referee. While that was the correct call, it's one that is rarely seen.

The second call that Greenberg likely took issue with was on the ensuing inbound pass, when forward Joey Hauser attempted a lob to center Marcus Bingham Jr. The nearest Wildcat defender was called for a foul while Bingham Jr. attempted to catch the pass, and the senior went to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, Bingham Jr. missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, and Northwestern secured the defensive rebound with one second left to win the game.

Even with that outcome, it's clear by his tweet that Greenberg felt his alma mater was given the short end of the stick by the referees.

Michigan State fell to 14-3 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten play. The Spartans are tied with Wisconsin for second place in the conference, trailing Illinois by one game. Northwestern, meanwhile, improve to 9-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten. This was a massive win for the Wildcats, who have aspirations of reaching the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in program history.