March Madness is a fitting name for the NCAA basketball tournament, and Iowa State picked up a win against North Carolina Sunday night amid that madness. A bit of controversy and confusion found its way into the final seconds of this game, which matched the sixth-seeded North Carolina Tarheels against the third-seeded Iowa State Cyclones in a battle where only one team could advance to the Sweet 16.
Iowa state came into this game a man down, as the team’s third-leading scorer, Georges Niang, was lost in the Cyclones’ opening round game with a broken bone in his right foot; he will miss the remainder of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament according to Sports Ilustrated. Without Niang in the lineup Iowa State was at a disadvantage against the bigger UNC team.
Being a man-down meant someone would have to step-up, and DeAndre Kane did just that, scoring a game-high 24 points on 9 of 18 shooting for Iowa State. Not only did Kane put up the high score of the game, he also was the one who took the game-winning shot for the Cyclones, putting them up 85-83 with 1.6 seconds left to play in the game. Kane scored 4 points and had 2 assists in the final two minutes, leading the way for the Iowa State win.
“He’s been our Mariano Rivera. He’s been our closer all throughout this season,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said about DeAndre Kane.
With 1.6 seconds left on the clock, UNC inbounded the ball with hopes of making one final shot to take back the lead at the buzzer. The Tarheels’ Nate Britt took the basketball and ran past midcourt, where he tried to call a time out. A heartbeat after Britt came to a stop, the buzzer sounded, and Iowa State began celebrating. There was some confusion for the next few minutes as officials looked over replays, attempting to figure out if Britt had indeed called the timeout with time remaining in regulation. After several minutes of deliberation, the officials pulled both coaches together and explained that the game was over.
The officials had ruled that as UNC inbounded the basketball, the time keeper had been slow to start the game clock, and that at the time Britt stopped and called the timeout for the Tarheels, time had already run out, leaving Iowa State as the winners, and advancing the Cyclones to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2000.
CBS Sports reports that UNC head coach Roy Williams didn’t put blame on the officials, and that in fact, his team had not reacted to the situation as they had practiced.
“Let’s not anybody lay it on the officials or anything like that. We didn’t call the timeout with 1.6 seconds to play,” Williams said.
Iowa State moves on to the Sweet 16, where they will next take on UConn in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
[Image via SB Nation]