Both coaches - Frank Martin of Kansas State and Tim Jankovich of Illinois State - admit they didn't know the rule, and while the officials - Todd Williams, Chris Beaver and Tim Fogarty - got the call right, several huddle sessions indicated they too were puzzled by the happening. One second remained with K-State clinging to an 80-79 lead and Ron Anderson at the foul line.
Anderson made the first, but looked to purposely miss the second with the long carom bouncing, bouncing and bouncing as ISU's Brandon Sampay watched, but never touched the ball.
That's when the clock operator punched the go button and the horn sounded.
K-State's celebration was short-lived as the officials urged the players to their respective benches and whet into multiple "what just happened" conversations.
After calling the head coaches together for an explanation, the officials met again. Officials declined to meet with a pool reporter, which is customary with such an obscure ending to a game, but after researching the rulebook, they did offer this explanation in a written statement.
"With 1.0 second remaining, the free throw was missed, and no player legally touched the ball inbounds, yet the clock started inadvertently and time expired. By rule, because there was no team control, possession is determined by alternate possession (arrow) and time set to 1.0 seconds."
The possession arrow favored K-State.
Jacob Pullen bounced the inbounds pass off the back of an ISU player and made the lay-in giving K-State an 83-79 First Round NIT victory.
"I told the ref I learn something new in this game every single day," Martin said. "I was under the impression that the clock starts either when it touches a player or hits the floor."
Jankovich gave an "absolutely not" answer when asked if he knew the rule.
But from his point of view, "I would think that it would be a fixable thing. The point is the ball was never touched, so a possession had not been decided. The ball isn't going to just sit there ... someone is eventually going to touch it, but then someone at the (official's) table decides to start the clock so a possession was never determined."
He added, "It's one of the strangest things I've ever seen."
It was the first overtime victory in postseason play since a First Round NCAA Tournament game in 1987 against Georgia, 82-79.
It's been a rough go for Illinois State in extra-period games as it has gone 2-5, which includes losing the last two games of the year in overtime - 60-57 in the Missouri Valley title game to Northern Iowa, and 83-79 to K-State in the NIT.
The Wildcats will now play at 24-9 San Diego State on Friday at 8:30, Kansas time.
With a victory, K-State will play either St. Mary's of California or Davidson. If the opponent is No. 6 seeded Davidson, the game would be played in Bramlage Coliseum on either Monday or Tuesday. If the foe is No. 2 seeded St. Mary's, the game will be played on the west coast on Monday or Tuesday.
The winner of that game would then advance to New York City and the NIT's Final Four on March 31 and April 2.