"In games like that, I don’t think you should call those calls," Longhorns junior Damion James said. "It was a tough game. They fought. We fought. And I just hate for my season to end like that."
James got whistled on a rebound attempt when Duke’s Gerald Henderson missed a baseline jumper with 47 seconds to play. Nolan Smith made two from the line to break a 69-69 tie.
"The dude was on my arm," said James, who came down with the ball. "I jumped vertical and grabbed the ball and the whistle was blown.
"That was tough. Me personally, I don’t think you make that call in that type situation."
The other whistle up for debate was a floor scramble after the Blue Devils’ Elliot Williams missed a pair of free throws with 11.5 seconds left and Duke up 72-69. Texas’ Dogus Balbay got this whistle and Henderson calmly made two free throws for the final score.
I won’t argue the push-off by Gary Johnson that sent Williams to the line after Duke’s Kyle Singler made a diving out-of-bounds save that sent the ball skying into Duke’s offensive end. This was after UT’s A.J. Abrams missed a floater and James couldn’t get a follow shot to go down.
And James contended — when asked, mind you — that a dookie was hanging on his shoulder in that instance, too.
A high school referee would not have made those calls, which in fact, sealed the game for Duke. The NCAA does a horrible job of selecting officials for the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. Small time referees that over officiate usually compose 2/3 of the crew in the first two rounds. Shame on the NCAA.
"We showed a lot of character," Abrams said. "Not only in this game, but throughout the season of just having the will to fight back. I’m proud of what we did.
"We obviously came up short of what we wanted to do, but it was a good effort from all of us."