March Madness refs blow Samford's chance at Kansas upset with horrendous foul call

The block was clean!

Samford v Kansas
Samford v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

The first major controversy of March Madness arrived late enough on Thursday night that the referees should be thankful most of the country wasn't awake for it.

Anyone who was up and watching the First Round matchup between No. 4 Kansas and No. 13 Samford saw it though. And we all know the Bulldogs got absolutely screwed.

In the final seconds of the game, with Kansas leading 90-89, Nicolas Timberlake had a free run to the basket. But Samford's A.J. Staton-McCray heroically ran him down from behind and pulled off one of the great blocks in memory.

And then the refs ruined it by calling a foul.

The replay clearly showed Staton-McCray got all ball. It was a clean block. As clean as could be.

The refs botched the ending of Samford vs. Kansas

A Samford player was in position to get to the ball first too. So if the call hadn't been made, the Bulldogs would have had the ball with 14 seconds to go and trailing by just one. They would have had a chance to complete their unlikely upset.

A bad call took that shot away from them and they lost 93-89.

Samford never led. They trailed by as many as 22 points. But they kept their heads and battled back to make it a game in the end. It's a shame things ended the way they did.

It's not that Kansas didn't deserve to win. They had the lead in those final seconds because they shot 60.3 percent from the field and outrebounded Samford 44-35. However, the Bulldogs forced 18 turnovers and shot 43.2 percent from beyond the arc to give themselves a chance.

The Jayhawks can thank their lucky stars they survived the First Round. They'll take on No. 5-seed Gonzaga in the Round of 32. The Zags are coming off a 21-point win over No. 12-seed McNeese.

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