Ben Howland upset at foul call
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- UCLA coach Ben Howland was not happy about the foul called against Bruins guard Malcolm Lee that sent Kansas' Mario Little to the free throw line with 0.7 seconds remaining in the Jayhawks' 77-76 win over the Bruins on Thursday night.
"That was a really, really poor way to end the game on a call," Howland said. "Just for anybody that hasn't seen it: It's a loose ball -- both 23, Little, and Malcolm Lee are putting their hand on the ball at the same time, with 0.9 seconds.
"Normally you wouldn't make that kind of call at that point in the game unless it was very obvious. And from what I saw, it's very disappointing to end the game on that note."
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Kansas coach Bill Self didn't disagree with Howland.
Asked if Kansas had gotten away with a "lucky win," Self said, "Oh yeah, [UCLA] outplayed us, and that's evident."
UCLA tied the game on Tyler Honeycutt's 3-pointer with five seconds remaining, and the game seemed destined for overtime. Kansas inbounded the ball quickly and tried to get off a last-second shot.
Instead, Little and Lee found themselves chasing a loose ball near the free throw line. On replays, both appear to touch the ball at the same time with one second left. Little came away with it and hurled a shot toward the basket as he fell down. It's not clear if contact was made.
Howland and UCLA's players were visibly upset when the foul was called. Officials reviewed the play to see if time had expired, but could not overturn the foul call.
"It was just a loose ball and I was going for it," Lee said. "I barely heard a whistle. I looked at the ref and he was signalling a foul. I was shocked.
"To lose the game off a tacky foul and then the free throws at the end, that's kind of hard."
Little stepped to the line and calmly made the first free throw. He intentionally missed the second. Honeycutt grabbed the rebound and could only hurl a desperation shot across the court.
Howland said he reviewed the play several times in the locker room before addressing it at his postgame news conference.
"It was disappointing to see two good teams finish on that kind of note," he said.
Asked if he liked winning the game in this fashion, or would rather have gone to overtime given the circumstances, Kansas guard Tyrel Reed said: "I don't know if I like it. But it happened."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow her on Twitter.