Iowa Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery was not pleased with the University of North Dakota’s attempt to score at the buzzer on Tuesday.
With five seconds left to play, North Dakota turned the ball over, trailing 84-73. Iowa forward Nicholas Baer caught the ball and held it, waiting for the clock to expire.
North Dakota guard Corey Baldwin then stole the ball back, taking it from Baer’s hands, and passed it to a teammate to shoot a layup. Though it went in, it came after the buzzer, giving Iowa the 84-73 win.
McCaffery was not happy with the last-second attempt, storming off the court, refusing to shake hands with North Dakota players and coaches.
While it’s not uncommon to see teams take offence to opponents trying to run up the score while they’re losing, it’s rare to see the winning team upset by a losing team trying to make the score closer.
After the game, McCaffery explained his anger, saying a few rough players prior to the final play had set him off (via ESPN’s C.L. Brown):
“I wasn’t pleased with how the game ended and the things that happened. … The game was over. We don’t need Pete [Jok] getting knocked to the floor. We don’t need guys getting up in Jordan’s face, Nicholas Baer’s head getting chopped off. We don’t need it. Game’s over. Move on.”
McCaffery, however, noted that he has respect for the North Dakota coaches and said he wished he shook their hands.
“I feel bad about it. I have a lot of respect for Brian Jones. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish I shook hands. … I shouldn’t have done it. I feel terrible about what happened.”
North Dakota head coach Brian Jones said of the final play, “Our kids are trying to compete. They’re not malicious kids. They’re good kids. They’re trying to compete until the final horn goes off.”
Ultimately, it looks like the issue has been resolved without conflict, but it remains a bit of an overreaction by McCaffery to get so upset by the losing team trying to score a basket in a sealed game.
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