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Samford supporters have ‘foul’ taste after Bulldogs loss to Kansas

SALT LAKE CITY — If you stayed up past midnight to cheer on Samford in the NCAA tournament, chances are you had a hard time getting to sleep.

Not to mention, you probably woke up this morning with a “foul” taste in your mouth.

The No. 13 Bulldogs saw a heroic comeback fall short Thursday night to NCAA blue blood and 4 seed Kansas 93-89 on a controversial foul call in the final seconds.

How big was the comeback? Trailing by 22 points early in the second half, Samford cut the Kansas lead to four points with 20 seconds left when Jaden Campbell made a 3-pointer to cut the Jayhawks’ lead to just a single point.

However, Samford Coach Bucky McMillan didn’t pin the loss on the call.

“That’s how close the game was,” he said in the postgame press conference. “That’s how well our guys played. What was the maximum we were down? We were down by 22. We’re going to have the ball there with a great opportunity.

“It is what it is.”

The Bulldogs then pressed on the throw in after the basket, but Kansas guard Nicholas Timberlake broke free, caught a pass and raced to the net for a dunk.

However, Samford’s A.J. Staton-McCray took off after Timberlake and contested the dunk attempt.

No, he actually tipped the ball, preventing the score. Timberlake crashed to the court and a foul was called on Staton-McCray.

“I have seen the play,” McMillan said. “I thought A.J. made an incredible play on it, you know what I’m saying? I’m not faulting the call. Some people can see it different ways. But I was really proud of our guys’ ability to go make a play.”

The call, unfortunately for the Southern Conference champion Bulldogs, was not reviewable and stood.

Timberlake sank his free throws for a 92-89 lead and, effectively, icing the win for the Jayhawks.

The Bulldogs had a chance with about 6 seconds left but Jermaine Marshall’s three-point-attempt was short. Kansas got the rebound and then hit a free-throw for the final 93-89 margin.

“I think our guys really believed they were going to win,” McMillan said. “I even felt at halftime, if you would have asked me, I was very confident we were going to win. Then when we cut it, we had all the momentum, I thought we’d win.

“When we didn’t win, I was shocked we didn’t win.”


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