ATLANTA – North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall insisted it would've been a "ticky-tack" foul call. N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried refused to say anything at all about it for fear the Atlantic Coast Conference would get in his pocket.
Marshall's drive to the basket with 10 seconds left concluded with a short jumper, and N.C. State's Alex Johnson flat on his back near the baseline. Marshall's shot sealed UNC's 69-67 win in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals and put the Tar Heels in the championship game for the fourth time in the last six years.
Immediately after the shot, Gottfried screamed Marshall should've been called for a charge. No call was made.
"I feel like in the game of basketball in that situation I don't think they're going to call a ticky-tack foul," said Marshall, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists, becoming the first player in UNC history to finish with double digits in both points and assists in three consecutive games.
Gottfried let his thoughts regarding the officiating be known by saying nothing at all.
"You can't talk about that," said Gottfried, whose team was considered to be on the NCAA tournament bubble entering the game. "You'll get fined."
N.C. State (22-12), which shot 44.8 percent from the floor for the game, had two more chances. UNC, which was led by Tyler Zeller's 23 points and nine rebounds, denied both opportunities.
On N.C. State's next quick trip up the floor, Scott Wood appeared to spot Norfolk native DeShawn Painter alone under the basket, but Justin Watts jumped in front of the pass and flipped it all the way back up the court before falling out-of-bounds.
"We had a mix-up and Painter was underneath the basket wide-open," said UNC coach Roy Williams, whose team shot 44.4 percent from the floor. "I'm screaming, 'Go get him' to one of our guys. It was not (Watts') man. J. Watts heard me, or saw it I can't tell you which one, and went scrambling down there and saved us."
Johnson ran the ball down with sixth-tenths of a second left and N.C. State called timeout. After the timeout, N.C. State's Richard Howell tried to gather in a near full-length court pass from CJ Williams in the lane, but Howell bobbled it and the clock expired.
Foul trouble plagued both teams down the stretch. Zeller fouled out with 1:08 remaining and the game tied 66-66.
N.C. State's CJ Leslie, who led the Wolfpack with 22 points, fouled out with 8:03 left. Gottfried said he was unaware Leslie had four fouls when he was called for a questionable charge just 32 seconds earlier.
Florida State 62, Duke 59
With sharp-shooter Michael Snaer on Florida State’s roster, Luke Loucks isn’t the first guy that comes to mind as the most likely candidate to take a huge shot in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinal game against Duke.
Yet, there was Loucks on Saturday afternoon in frenzied Philips Arena, calling for a clear-out on the left elbow as Duke’s Josh Hairston tried to guard him in the closing seconds.
If nothing else, Loucks had the green light with FSU (23-9) clinging to a one-point lead. He made the most of it with 11.9 seconds left, nailing a jumper over Hairston with his right toe on the 3-point line.
His shot gave No. 3 seed FSU a more comfortable late cushion, and the Seminoles watched the last gasp 40-foot effort of Duke’s Seth Curry roll off the rim to conclude a 62-59 win and advance into Sunday’s ACC championship game against top seed North Carolina.
Duke’s 3-year run of ACC tournament titles is over.
“The coaches said, ‘If (Hairston is) right up (on Loucks), penetrate, create and find an open man; if he takes a couple steps back, go ahead and shoot it’” said Loucks, a senior who entered the game averaging just 6.5 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the floor.
“I was trying to read (Hairston)…He gave me enough room to get a decent shot off.”
Loucks’ shot came 30 seconds after No. 2 seed Duke’s Austin Rivers split a double team and got to the front of the rim for a layup to cut FSU’s lead to 60-59. He led Duke (27-6) with 17 points.
Rivers would have a chance to tie it after Loucks’ jumper, but Rivers misfired on a 3-point attempt over Snaer with six seconds left and the loose ball bounced out of bounds with 3.5 seconds left. FSU, which shot 42.1 percent from the floor, took possession.
After a timeout, Curry managed to steal a high lobbed inbounds pass at midcourt. He took a few steps inside midcourt before letting a 3-point shot fly, but it rimmed out at the buzzer.
Snaer, who paced FSU with 16 points, was big down the stretch. He entered the game as a 40.7 percent shooter from 3-point range. He attempted just two 3-pointers in the game, and his only successful one came at a critical moment.
After the Seminoles let a 10-point early second-half lead slip away, Snaer connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:27 remaining, giving FSU a 58-57 lead. Duke, which shot just 37.3 percent from the floor for the game (including 25 percent – 5 of 20 – from 3-point range) and led for only 33 seconds in the second half, would never lead again.
“We needed one stop, and we just couldn’t get that stop,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who after the game referred to Snaer as the ACC’s most competitive player. “They executed and we didn’t stop them.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times