Timeout confusion dooms No. 6 seed North Carolina

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm •  Published: March 23, 2014
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — North Carolina had 1.6 seconds to score and avoid another early NCAA tournament exit, but instead spent that precious time trying to call timeout.

A fittingly frustrating end to a frustrating Tar Heels season.

With coach Roy Williams jumping and gesticulating for a timeout, the No. 6 seed Tar Heels inbounded the ball to Nate Britt who dribbled past midcourt as time expired, ousting them in the third round for a second consecutive season in a 85-83 loss to Iowa State on Sunday.

Officials huddled for several minutes reviewing the clock on replays before confirming that the game was over. Williams — who collapsed his hands on his knees as Britt surged toward him — then shook Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg's hand as North Carolina began absorbing the heartbreaker.

"We made some mistakes. We practice all the time that situation for five guys to be calling timeout, and I'm supposed to be calling timeout, and I was calling timeout," Williams said. "Referees didn't recognize it. We practice those scenarios, so we made mistakes. "

Iowa State's DeAndre Kane did exactly as his coach had instructed, driving for a layup with 1.6 seconds left that gave the Cyclones the lead. His twisting shot put Iowa State in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000.

"He's been our Mariano Rivera. He's been our closer all throughout this season," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Now the No. 3 seed Cyclones (28-7) are headed to the home of the former Yankees star, New York City, where they will play No. 7 seed Connecticut in the East Regional semifinals next week.

The No. 6 seed Tar Heels (24-10) are gone in the NCAA tournament's opening weekend for the first time in consecutive seasons under Williams, who choked back tears following the end of his 10th season in Chapel Hill.

"Let's not anybody lay it on the officials or anything like that. We didn't call the timeout with 1.6 seconds to play," Williams said.

Britt said he thought North Carolina got the timeout before the buzzer.

"When I looked up at the clock I saw one-point-something time left," he said. "I saw staff screaming and trying to call timeout."

Kane finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. It was just the kind of big game the Cyclones needed without forward Georges Niang, who broke his foot in Friday's win against North Carolina Central. The 6-foot-7 sophomore sat on the bench wearing a bulky boot while the Cyclones tried their best without their third-leading scorer and tallest starter.