Bucky McMillan of Samford “Not Faulting” The Referees in Their Kansas Loss

Coach Bucky McMillan of Samford declined to comment on whether or not officials erred in calling A.J. Staton-McCray a foul after the player attempted to block Kansas guard Nic Timberlake’s dunk.

After 13th-seeded Samford’s 93-89 loss to fourth-seeded Kansas on Thursday, the fourth-year coach did note that if the block had been clean, the Bulldogs would have been down a point, five on four, and maybe advanced to the NCAA tournament’s second round.

McMillan stated, “That’s how close the game was.” That is how good our men performed. What was the highest amount we lost? We were behind by twenty-two. There’s going to be a fantastic opportunity and the ball.

“It is what it is.”

In his sorrowful post-match press conference, McMillan took cautious not to point the finger at the referees.

“I have seen the play,” he declared. “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.”

According to Timberlake, the play “definitely” fouled him.

And when questioned whether he had a clear view of the dunk, Kansas coach Bill Self avoided talking about the real foul.

Self remarked, “I thought Nic attacked the basket well,” “He’s a much better athlete than what a lot of people think. He attacked it strong, just like he should.”

Samford used a long-range shot to get back into the game. With 10 more 3-pointers made by the Bulldogs than by the Jayhawks in the end, Self declared it “remarkable” that Kansas prevailed despite the deficit in long-range shooting. With almost 16 minutes remaining, the Bulldogs began their comeback from a 22-point deficit, making eight 3-pointers in the process.

Using a full-court press on makes and misses that McMillan has made his team’s signature, Samford was disruptive for the whole of the game. Seven steals resulted from it, and 15 points were scored off of turnovers.

“That’s my first experience with Bucky ball,” Self said.”I’d as soon not play against it again for a while.

“It’s a hard game for us with very little depth. You have to play guys the entire game. We knew it’s going to be like that. There’s just never a break in the action where you can catch your breath.”

Given the size of the Jayhawks, the Bulldogs were unable to compete. Lead by center Hunter Dickinson’s 19 points and 20 rebounds, Kansas scored 54 points in the paint. With K.J. Adams Jr. leading the way with 20, he was one of five Jayhawks in double digits.

With 23 points and 18 for Jaden Campbell, Achor Achor lead the Bulldogs. On an astonishing 4-of-4 three-point shooting, rookie Riley Allenspach scored fifteen points. Making 6 out of 25 shots in the season, he entered the NCAA tournament.

Allenspach made all of his three-pointers in the Samford surge that reduced the margin to one.

That set up the play that decided the game with 14.7 seconds remaining. For the second time in five minutes, Samford had closed the gap. Timberlake made both of his free throws following the foul call, increasing the Jayhawks’ lead to 92-89. With roughly six seconds remaining, Jermaine Marshall attempted a three-point shot, but it was unsuccessful, and Kansas won the possession after a chase to the corner.

“I think our guys really believed they were going to win,” McMillan stated. “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.”