PITTSBURGH — Kansas State senior Jamar Samuels’ well-documented struggles in the NCAA Tournament continued in Thursday’s second-round victory over Southern Mississippi.
After picking up his second foul, Samuels had to sit for the final 7:30 of the first half. He started the second half and picked up another foul almost immediately, but coach Frank Martin kept him in the game.
Not that it helped. Samuels finished with one point on 1-of-2 free-throw shooting and did not attempt a shot.
The 6-foot-7 senior and honorable mention All-Big 12 selection is averaging 4.2 points in seven career NCAA Tournament games and has scored in double digits just once, in a double-overtime win over Xavier in 2010 in which he scored 14 points.
“I’m perfectly fine with how I played, I thought I rebounded well,” said Samuels, who had eight rebounds against the Golden Eagles. “I also thought I played perfectly good defense.”
Not cool — North Carolina-Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach didn’t waste much time voicing his displeasure with a controversial call after his 16th-seeded team’s 72-65 loss to Syracuse, a No. 1 seed.
“I thought we had a cooling-off period,” Biedenbach said as he sat down to the podium for a postgame news conference. “There’s not enough time for cooling off for this one.”
With 35 seconds left and the Orange leading 66-63, the ball appeared to go off Syracuse’s Brandon Triche on an inbounds pass, but Ed Corbitt, an official who works Big East games, called it off Asheville. Scoop Jardine made two free throws to give Syracuse a 68-63 lead.
John Adams, the national coordinator of basketball officiating, went on national television to try and explain the call. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed.
“Nobody owns the ball when it’s in the air, and when he jumps in front of Syracuse player it might have looked like it deflected the ball,” Adams said. “It’s tough, it’s strictly a judgment standpoint. Things happen sometimes.
“We have to call these things live … you have to make the call in the moment.”
Biedenbach had words for Corbitt after calling his final timeout.
“I’m not going to comment on the officiating of the game,” Biedenbach said. “If I was out there, I was asking him if he was going to go to Primanti’s to eat.
“What do you think I was talking to him about at that particular time? Next question.”