Kansas State was down by a point before Friday night’s NCAA Tournament game even started. Not easy to do.
But K-State walk-on Brian Rohleder dunked when he wasn’t supposed to during pregame warmups, so K-State was assessed an administrative technical foul.
Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison made one of two free throws before the game officially began.
A NCAA rule says “No player may dunk or attempt to dunk a dead ball before or during the game, or during an intermission.”
Referees said that means no one can dunk once the 20-minute pregame clock starts ticking. Rohleder dunked, the refs were watching and the T was assessed.
Big 12 Conference supervisor of officials John Underwood said the rule has been in place since 1978.
K-State coach Bruce Weber said Rohleder had tears in his eyes after he learned about the technical.
“I told him I loved him,” Weber said. “He’s the greatest kid and works very hard.”
Weber said a “good ref” wouldn’t have made the call, but instead would have just told the player not to do it.
“Sometimes you have to use common sense,” Weber added. “That rule doesn’t make sense to me.”Tough break
K-State sophomore forward D.J. Johnson didn’t play in the second half Friday. He couldn’t after he broke his foot in the first half.
After drawing a foul midway through the first half, Johnson began favoring his right foot. K-State coaches took him out of the game and X-rays revealed he had a fracture.
Johnson said a Kentucky defender fell on his foot at an awkward angle. Johnson was walking with crutches after the game.
“It hurts, because I wasn’t able to go back in and help my team,” Johnson said. “I feel like I let them down.”Showing pride
Will Spradling and Shane Southwell both said they were proud of what K-State accomplished this season, even if a loss to Kentucky was hard to stomach.
“I’m still extremely proud,” Southwell said. “I’m proud of my teammates and the coaching staff.”
Spradling added: “We accomplished more than I feel like people expected. We let a lot of games get away. In the Big 12 we lost games at the buzzer. But we still did more than people thought we could.”