Larry Brown almost lost a game for his Kansas team by getting a technical foul in the closing minutes.
Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote said that a malfunctioning clock that lost 10 seconds cost his team the game.
All of this was part of a wild and bizarre finish of the NCAA Midwest Regional game between Kansas and Michigan State Friday night at Kemper Arena.
Kansas, apparently beaten, went on to win, though, in overtime, 96-86, and will meet the North Carolina State Wolfpack Sunday for the regional title and the opportunity to advance to the Final Four.
North Carolina State beat Iowa State, 70-66, in the first regional semifinal game. Charles Shackleford, a 6-10 freshman forward, scored 22 points and Chris Washburn, a 6-11 freshman center, got 20 points for the Wolfpack.
Near the end of regulation in the second game, Brown, the former UCLA coach, was arguing vehemently with official Bob Dibler. He was apparently upset because Heathcote was out of the coaching box.
Brown, in shaking his program at Dibler, caught the official's whistle and flipped it up in his face. Brown was assessed a technical foul.
Scott Skiles was already at the free-throw line for a one-and-one attempt. He missed on the front end, though, but he made both technical fouls to provide his underdog team with a 78-74 lead with 1:39 remaining.
The Spartans retained possession because of the technical foul, and forward Barry Fordham hit a 14-foot jump shot to give his team a six-point advantage.
But Michigan State couldn't hold the lead as Kansas forward Archie Marshall made a tip-in with nine seconds left to tie the score at 80-80, and Skiles wasn't close with a hurried 25-foot shot in the last two seconds.
The overtime belonged to Kansas as guard Calvin Thompson scored eight of his team's 16 points.
For Michigan State (23-8), it was a bitter defeat against the nation's No. 2-ranked team. Moreover, the Jayhawks (34-3) had the advantage of playing on a "home court" since their campus is only 40 miles away in Lawrence.
Heathcote said there was a malfunction of the clock with 2:21 left in regulation and his team leading, 76-72.
"The sad thing about about the entire game was that malfunction," Heathcote said. "If 10 seconds had gone off as it should, then the game would have been over."
What he meant was that the extra 10 seconds provided Kansas without just enough time to come back and send the game into overtime.
"The timer told me that the clock malfunctioned twice," Heathcote said. "I tried to get an official to confer with the timer, but he refused to do it."
There were conflicting statements, though, about the clock.
Dick Schultz, a member of the NCAA basketball committed, said: "The clock operator was not aware that the clock had malfunctioned. According to the rules, time cannot be added or subtracted from the clock unless the amount of time gained or lost is precisely known by the officials or clock operator."
Brown, of course, had his own perspective on the clock.
"With 2:21 left, there is time for a lot of things to happen, so I'm not sure it made a difference," he said.
As for his technical foul, Brown said: "I was upset because an official was holding my arm, escorting me back to the bench area so they could start the game again. I didn't mean to get a 'T,' but my program hit his whistle and he had no choice."
Heathcote had other things to say about the officiating.
"I thought it was a phantom-called game," he said. "I was very disappointed with the NCAA officiating at this level. We've gone through 31 games, and this is the first time I've ever had both of my guards on the bench with three fouls each with seven minutes left in the first half."
He was referring to Skiles, the fiery leader of the Spartans, and Darryl Johnson.
They weren't the only ones in foul trouble. Danny Manning, Kansas' star forward, sat down with eight minutes left in the first half and played only 25 minutes, scoring 17 points. He fouled out with 2:21 remaining.
Skiles, who came into game as the nation's No. 2 scorer, averaging 27.2 points, wound up with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
As for his shot that missed at the end of regulation, Skiles said: "I dribbled and tried to get the best shot I could. With the benefit of hindsight, though, I obviously should have taken one more dribble before I shot."
Skiles, a 90% foul shooter, was 8 for 10 from the line. But the two he missed meant the difference in his team being unable to win in regulation time.
"My concentration didn't wander," Skiles said. "I've won several games for us this year. I take the responsibility for this loss. If I had made that first free throw, I wouldn't have put that much pressure on a young freshman."
Michigan State led, 80-78, when freshman Mark Brown went to the line to shoot a one-and-one with 20 seconds left in regulation play. He missed, and Kansas got the ball upcourt in a hurry.
Thompson, who finished with a game-high 26 points, missed on a jumper, but Marshall crashed the board and tipped the ball in.
Michigan State, the last Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament, had come back from nine-point deficit at halftime to almost upset the No. 1-seeded team in the Midwest Regional.
The Spartans seemingly threw all of their big punches in regulation, however, and made only 3 of 9 shots in the overtime. Kansas made 6 of its 9 shots to win its 15th straight game. The Jayhawks haven't lost since losing to Iowa State on Jan. 28.
North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano has said his team wins ugly, and that seems to be an accurate assessment. But he has a power team, one that can pound the ball inside with Washburn and Shackleford.
The Wolfpack (21-12) seemingly was in control of the game at halftime with a 40-29 lead. Iowa State, a much smaller but quicker team, couldn't get its transition game going and shot only 32.1% from the field. North Carolina State shot 65.4% as Washburn knocked in shots ranging from 8 to 15 feet.
Washburn, a powerfully built athlete, got 16 of his 20 points in the first half. Forward Jeff Grayer kept Iowa State (22-11) in the game with his 15 points, 9 for 9 from the foul line.
"I told my team at halftime to expect Iowa State to come out running and gunning," Valvano said. "We had to withstand that run and have a mini-run ourselves. It helps to have a 11-point halftime lead."
Valvano was prophetic, for the Cyclones did, indeed, have a run early in the second half, a 10-point blitz that trimmed North Carolina State's lead to three points at 44-41. A few minutes later, Iowa State drew even at 47-47 on Jeff Hornacek's 18-foot jump shot.
Iowa State center Sam Hill triggered this burst with a sweet hook shot from the side. At the other end, the Wolfpack took some awkward, yes ugly, off-balance shots.
Then, the Wolfpack had its mini run, with Bennie Bolton and Ernie Myers leading the way. North Carolina State maintained leads of three to five points for the next 10 minutes.