LOUIVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — Clayton guard Ryan Nemhard sits quietly, head down, as he reflects on the deciding foul called with 1.2 seconds left in the South Region final of the NCAA Tournament against San Diego State University. I threw it back and took a deep breath.
Ryan Kalkbrenner and Baylor Shierman, who were sitting next to Nemhardt, covered their mouths with towels.
rear A brilliant end to Sunday of the best season in school historythe Creighton player was confused, dejected and almost speechless.
“It’s a tough feeling. You work hard all year and it comes down to plays like that,” said Nemhardt. , is a hard way to lose.”
The Blue Jays blamed no one but themselves for their 57-56 loss to Omaha, Nebraska, and advanced to their first Finals 4 by one win and two points. San Diego heading to Houston next weekendThe Aztecs will face East Division champions Florida Atlantic, also the first Final Four team.
Clayton coach Greg McDermott, his longtime friend and colleague Brian Dutcher, devised a defensive plan that would allow the Aztecs to impose their will on one of the country’s top attacking teams. I acknowledged that
Clayton (24-13) entered the game averaging 77.0 points and 8.8 3-pointers. March Madness. San Diego State limited the Blue Jays to the second-lowest point total on the season and two 3s in 17 attempts.
The Blue Jays were never led by more than eight mengave up the advantage with 6:45 remaining and never took the lead again.
They were plagued by questionable decisions such as errant shots, ill-fated bounces, and McDermott’s instructions to award the sixth team foul with 6.7 seconds remaining. This turned off the shot clock, allowing the Aztecs to take their final shot.
Then came the sequence everyone was talking about, with Nemhart’s left hand wrapped around Darion Trammel’s waist.
“They went off the small screen. He went downhill and tried to float,” said Nemhardt, who injured his right wrist early in the second half. “I tried to contest it. They called a foul.”
Even Trammell, who was named the best player in the region, admitted that the contact from Nebhardt didn’t affect his shot and bounced behind the rim.
“I wouldn’t say so,” said Trammell. “I still feel good looking. .”
After missing the first free throw, Trammell made the second to seal the fate of the Blue Jays.
McDermott did not criticize the officials’ subsequent conclusion that the desperate floor-length pass from Cole, Shireman to Arthur Karma was deflected out of bounds, or that time had passed.
“Refereeing is part of the game and we’re not going to go there,” McDermott said.
That was little consolation for the Blue Jays, who reached their first Elite Eight since entering the eight-team NCAA Tournament in 1941.
Shireman then walked into the locker room with the jersey over his face. Kalkbrenner leaned his head against the concrete wall after leaving the court. And Nemhardt had to accept the outcome of a call that Blue Jays fans won’t soon forget.
“Whether we lose or win, we make no excuses,” Nemhad said. “Maybe it was a bad decision, maybe it was a right decision. That’s the reality.”
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