University of Kansas

Official on Devonte’ Graham’s fifth foul: He undercut Villanova’s Josh Hart

Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham attempted to split the Villanova defense with the ball with the Jayhawks trailing by two points with 34 seconds remaining in Saturday’s Elite Eight game.

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges got his hand on the ball and it got away from Graham, who reclaimed it after a couple of bounces. But Graham slid into the legs of the Wildcats’ Josh Hart.

The whistles blew. The officials huddled and called a foul on Graham, the fifth on a player who made five of nine three-pointers and led KU with 17 points.

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Graham said after the Jayhawks’ 64-59 loss that an official said he had tripped Hart.

“He said I tripped him,” Graham said. “Can’t talk about the refs. Coach told us not say anything negative.”

Here’s how official Terry Wymer explained the play through a pool reporter.

“Kansas was in team control of the ball. The ball came loose and Kansas maintained the ball. No. 4 (Graham) undercut No. 3 (Hart). Therefore it was a team-control foul and they were not shooting a one-and-one. They never lost the ball. We (the officials) got together to review the sequences to make us sure.”

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KU coach Bill Self, who jawed with officials all night, didn’t gripe about the call when asked about it after the game.

“I thought it was a great hustle play,” Self said. “But as upset or sad or mad that you get about certain things, it doesn’t do any good now.

“I mean if we had a next game, you could use that as motivation to prepare the next time. But it’s over. So there’s no reason for us to worry too much about things that we have absolutely zero control over.”

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Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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