The final 9.6 seconds will be ones the UCLA Bruins will remember for some time.
One missed shot by Michigan's Jalen Rose, and then one put-back of the rebound by Jimmy King as the Bruins lost to the top-seeded Wolverines in overtime, 86-84, during the West Regional's second round at McKale Court on Sunday.
"We're on cloud nine and they're on death row," said Steve Fisher, whose Wolverines overcame a 19-point first-half deficit.
Jim Harrick, coach of ninth-seeded UCLA (22-11), believed the shot clock had expired before Rose's shot hit the rim of the basket. He thought King's basket should not count. He thought the officials were wrong not to examine a taped replay before making their decision.
But almost 40 minutes after the play, Harrick saw a slow-motion tape and slowly realized that the 1992-93 had ended as it should.
The officials had made the correct decision.
Referee Don Rutledge said as long as Rose's shot was taken before the shot clock expired and hit the rim, no violation occurred.
At first, Harrick adamantly disagreed with that interpretation. He insisted that the ball must hit the rim before the shot clock expired.
During the confusion at the scoring table, Harrick asked the officials: "Are you absolutely sure?"
Said Harrick: "I begged them to look (at a replay)."
The game came down to Michigan's last play after Rodney Zimmerman, a reserve center, made two free throws with 48.4 seconds left in overtime to tie the score at 84.
Michigan was determined to use as much time as possible before attempting a final shot. With UCLA in a matchup zone, Rose and Ray Jackson were able to hold the ball near midcourt for long stretches without being pressured.
But they almost waited too long. The Wolverines (28-4) called a timeout with seven seconds on the shot clock, 9.6 left to play.
"The play was for Jalen," King said. "It had worked, but he just missed the shot."
It appeared time would expire as two Wolverines leaped for the ball. It bounced off the right side of the rim as a shot clock ran down, and King got perfect position to put in the winner.
UCLA called a timeout, but play did not resume for more than five minutes as Harrick pleaded his case.
Harrick said the Bruins stopped playing after they heard the shot clock sound, allowing King to make the uncontested winning shot.
"I paused for a minute," said Mitchell Butler, UCLA's senior captain.
Fisher did not think that was much of an excuse.
"You have to know to play on when that happens," he said. "I mean, that happens all the time."
But Fisher understood how the Bruins felt. "If I had been on the other end, I would have been screaming, too," he said. "I'd have tried anything."
After the confusion over King's basket, the Bruins were given the ball with 1.5 seconds left. David Boyle threw a length-of-the court pass to Ed O'Bannon at the top of the key. O'Bannon caught the ball and launched an off-balanced shot that barely missed as time expired. Shooting a remarkable 70% during the first half, UCLA took a 49-30 lead with 2:37 to play in the half. "We gave Michigan the scare of their lives," Butler said.
O'Bannon, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, scored his 17th point with 10:03 left in the half. He made six of seven in the first half, including all three three-point shots.
His third three-pointer gave the Bruins a 31-26 lead, and when O'Bannon left the game for a rest, he watched from the bench as UCLA quickly turned it into a 17-point advantage, and eventually, a 19-point lead. As the UCLA zone frustrated the Wolverines' inside game, UCLA's outside shooting took over.
During a time out, Fisher told his players, "Hey, they've thrown their best punches at us."
Said Fisher: "So we go back on the floor and they throw 13 more straight points at us."
It was the kind of half that Michigan feared.
"I was thinking, 'It's the year of the upset, but I'm not going to be one of them,' " said Chris Webber, Michigan's power forward, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds.
And when freshman swingman Kevin Dempsey entered the game, the Bruins lost nothing. Dempsey, who struggled at the end of the regular season, made a couple of three-pointers, and all anyone in the arena could do was shake their heads.
"I saw victory numerous times," said Shon Taver, who led UCLA with 24 points.
Despite Michigan's comeback, UCLA was poised to win in regulation. Sophomore Bruin point guard Tyus Edney made two free throws to tie the score, at 77-77, with 6.3 seconds left.
UCLA pressed Michigan and forced the Wolverines to throw a pass into traffic at midcourt. Edney regained the ball and raced toward the basket as the 6-9 Howard awaited him. The 5-9 Edney saw O'Bannon underneath the basket and tried to wrap a pass to him for a winning layup.
But King came from behind O'Bannon to steal the ball and ensure the game would go to overtime.
"I kind of wish Tyus would have shot that ball," Harrick said.
But that decision was lost on the Bruins in the aftermath of defeat. Meanwhile, Michigan goes on to play George Washington in Seattle.