Missed free throws cost handicapper chance at final big score

When Mario Chalmers nailed a game-tying 3-pointer for Kansas with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to send Monday's national championship game to overtime, he also drove a stake through the hearts of bettors holding tickets on Memphis.

Paul Stone was one of those bettors.

The Texas-based professional sports handicapper (who2beton.com) lost $550 on the Tigers, who blew a 9-point lead with 2:12 remaining in regulation.

Memphis missed four free throws in the final seconds in the second half.

"What can you say? Obviously, coming down the stretch, I thought I had a winner with Memphis, but the Tigers could not finish the game at the free-throw line,'' Stone said. ''This was obviously a concern for them, and, despite doing a good job during the tournament, that inability to make the critical free throws reared its ugly head again and ultimately cost them the national title.

"Kansas kept fighting and deserved to win. Memphis was clearly deflated after being unable to close the game out in regulation, and the Jayhawks had all the momentum entering overtime.''

The Jayhawks outscored the Tigers 12-5 in overtime.

''You have to be able to finish the game, and Memphis just did not get it done," Stone said.

Despite the bad beat and slow start in the NCAA Tournament, Stone managed to finish on top, compiling a 22-21-2 record against the spread while winning $90.

"The national championship game was much like my tournament from a betting perspective," he said. "Back and forth, never getting too far ahead or behind. This one definitely stings a little bit because I would have at least been able to salvage something out of the tournament, but now I justbreak even.

"That's why they call it gambling. You don't cash your ticket until the clock shows all zeroes."