Friday, December 2, 2005
C.J. Giles didn't go so far as to say he was robbed.
In fact, he didn't blast the officials at all.
Giles, Kansas University's 6-foot-11 sophomore center, calmly reported he felt contact on the final play of the game -- a Nick Fazekas block of his last-second shot -- that cemented the Jayhawks' 72-70 loss to Nevada on Thursday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
Giles accepted a pass from Jeff Hawkins, who, with 6.9 seconds left, went coast-to-coast, and, after nearly stepping out of bounds, deposited the ball in Giles' hands.
"His hands were on my hands going up, but I don't know if the officials could see it," Giles said of Fazekas' reported contact. "I don't know if it was a good call or not. I don't know if the refs could see it or not."
Giles, who finished with six points and eight rebounds, said he felt confident watching Hawkins storm down the court with the ball as KU desperately tried to tie the No. 20-rated Wolf Pack.
"I thought Hawk would go all for it. I went in to get a rebound," Giles said. "Hawk saw me open and made a good pass."
KU coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks were victimized by Fazekas' 35 points, briefly stormed onto the court toward the refs after the no-call and the final horn, then calmly retreated and walked in line to shake hands with Nevada's players and coaches.
"We didn't have any timeouts. You can't draw anything up," Self said.
Micah Downs hit a big three at :17 to cut a 71-67 deficit to 71-70, then Nevada's Mo Charlo hit the second of two free throws at 6.9 seconds just prior to KU's last-gasp effort.
"We subbed for Micah Downs because we weren't going to shoot a three," Self recalled of the substitution after Charlo's charity. "You will put guys in the game that will try to get to the rack and two biggest guys in there to get the offensive rebound. It worked perfectly. Hawk forced help, got the pass to C.J., got it right where he wanted to ... obviously didn't get the call."
KU's coach believed Giles was hit on the play.
"I thought he got fouled," Self said. "From my vantage point ... I'm usually not one to complain about officiating. I'm not going to tonight. We did exactly what we wanted to do. You want to drive because they are told not to foul. Most teams try not to foul. C.J. said he got fouled. Obviously, we didn't get the call."
The Jayhawks, who lagged by 10 in the first half and trailed, 35-27, at halftime, battled back to lead, 57-54, at 4:42. But Fazekas, whose 35-point outing tied for the eighth best by an opponent in Allen Fieldhouse history and was most points since Gerald Brown of Pepperdine had 35 in 1997, hit a basket and foul shot to tie the game at 4:32.
KU lagged, 61-59, at 3:25 when Sasha Kaun hit the front end, then missed the second free throw. That was followed by a Fazekas three at 2:53 and two more Fazekas free throws at 2:04, giving Nevada a 66-60 lead.
3 Kansas turnovers in the second half 53.6 KU's second-half shooting percentage (a nearly 20-point improvement over the first half) 35 Points for Nevada's Nick Fazekas
KU trailed 68-62 at 1:24 when Russell Robinson made the first of two free throws and missed the second, but had Giles tip in the miss, making it a three-point game.
Robinson came down and missed a driving layup after a Fazekas turnover at :45. Kyle Shiloh made a free throw at :45 to boost the lead to 69-65.
Brandon Rush dunked at :36, making it a two-point game, which was followed by two free throws by Charlo. After that, Downs, hit the three, making it 71-70, leading up to the frenzied final moments.
"I wanted it," Rush said of the ball on the final possession. He finished with 15 points and eight boards. "I always want the ball in that situation. The play was J-Hawk to take it to the rim, and he did. He kicked it out to C.J. It worked."
Self said the reason KU fell to 2-3 for the first time since the 1972-73 season was not the last play of the game.
"The reason we lost is we didn't come as individually ready early in the game as we should have," Self said. "We made so many silly plays, and it was just a mess in transition. It was just one bona fide mental mistake early in the game, and the next thing you know you are behind the 8-ball."
Fazekas put KU behind the 8-ball.
"They had a great player tonight," Self said. "He was better than anyone on the floor tonight by a long ways. We knew that, and we did not have a guy that could guard a player like that."
KU will meet Western Illinois at 7 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.