ANAHEIM -- The long and the short of it was that Stanford's Brook Lopez was 7-foot tall and the Marquette man guarding him, Dwight Burke, was 6-8, but that did still didn't fully explain Lopez's baseline overtime shot with 1.3 second left spinning around the rim, kissing the backboard and bouncing through the net.
Lopez didn't get a great look at the most important shot he may ever make.
"I guess I got a nice bounce or something," he said.
There was a lot about Stanford's 82-81 overtime victory over Marquette on Saturday at the Honda Center that needed explaining, namely Stanford coach Trent Johnson getting ejected with 3:36 left in the first half after receiving two technical fouls for arguing a called foul.
Had Stanford lost this second-round NCAA South Regional game, Johnson would have had to live with handing Marquette four foul shots, all made by Wesley Matthews, that might have cost the Cardinal a trip to the Sweet 16.
Had Stanford lost it would have been Johnson's fault.
"No question," Johnson confirmed.
Stanford trailed by one when referee Curtis Shaw gave Johnson his talking papers, although Johnson said afterward he didn't know exactly what he said.
There were no profanities, he said, "No magic words." Shaw said in a statement afterward he had warned Johnson with a "stop" signal and said "Trent, that's enough."
Marquette took advantage of the court commotion and pushed the lead to 11. Stanford assistant Doug Oliver, seen putting his hands in the "oh-no" position on his head after Johnson was ejected, was now in charge.
Or was it a retreat?
"I was a bit shocked, I mean, and caught off guard " Oliver said.
The Cardinal came back, though, whittling the lead from 11 to six just before the intermission, setting up a second half and overtime to be rehashed and remembered.
Brook Lopez, who sat out the final 10:15 of the first half because of foul trouble, scored 28 of his team-high 30 in the second-half and overtime. Robin, his brother, finished with 18. Teammate Mitch Johnson had 16 assists, the second most in NCAA Tournament history.
Marquette's Jerel McNeal finished with 30 points.
With Johnson watching from the locker room, and Oliver trying to keep the calm, Stanford took back the lead, 51-49, on a Brook Lopez basket with 13:11 left.
After that it was elbow-to-elbow combat.
Marquette's guards kept the Golden Eagles in the game with their shooting while the Golden Eagles' undersized insiders tried to contend with Stanford's pair of 7-footers, who scored 48 of their team's 82 points.
Marquette got even smaller when 6-10 Ousimane Barro, the team's only player taller than 6-9, fouled out with 1:44 left in regulation.
McNeal's drive to the basket with 1:13 left gave his team a 71-70 lead and it stayed that way until McNeal fouled Robin Lopez with eight seconds left.
Robin missed his first free-throw attempt but made the second, sending the game into overtime.
Brook Lopez and McNeal dominated the extra time, with McNeal's third three-pointer of the extra period with 2:20 left giving his team a 81-80 lead.
It was last scoring until the final 1.3 seconds.
McNeal's missed jumper with 16 seconds allowed Stanford to call time out with nine seconds left to set up the final drama.
Mitch Johnson, fittingly, provided the final assist, tossing the ball into Brook Lopez with about four seconds left.
Burke, giving up four inches, had established solid defensive position, pushing Lopez almost behind the backboard.
Somehow, though, Lopez flipped up the shot, and somehow it went in.
"He took a tough shot," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "I mean, he makes tough shots."