When throwing your suit jacket is (and is not) acceptable
While waiting for the postgame press conferences to begin Saturday following Maryland's six-point win at Virginia, a few reporters discussed what was inarguably a critical point in the game. With 38.6 seconds remaining in the second half, Virginia forward Jerome Meyinsse was called for a blocking foul and Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett responded by taking off his suit jacket and throwing it to the ground.
That, as you might imagine, did not sit well with referee Jamie Luckie, who had called the blocking foul on Meyinsse. Luckie gave Bennett a technical foul, which gave Maryland four straight free throws instead of the two the Terrapins would have received for the blocking foul. Prior to that sequence, Maryland led by one. After Greivis Vasquez and Sean Mosley made their free throws, the Terrapins led by five and the game was all but sealed.
The question: Was Bennett's technical foul warranted? After all, Maryland Coach Gary Williams tossed off his suit jacket in a fit of rage during the second half of the Terrapins win Feb. 20 over Georgia Tech without being assessed a technical. What was the difference?
As is usually the case, it's all about context. Bennett -- in the eyes of the official -- was throwing his suit jacket in response to a referee's decision. Luckie felt Bennett was passing judgement on his foul call on Meyinsse, and that judgement was, um, less than supportive.
In Williams's case, he flung off his jacket in reaction to the play of his team. Maryland had been giving up a plethora of offensive rebounds to the Yellow Jackets, and the mounting frustration finally got the best of him. But Williams's action wasn't in regards to anything the officials had done. He simply was mad at his own players. And so, he did not get called for a technical foul.
"I feel bad," Bennett said Saturday. "They would have gone to the line with two shots. They make both, we’ve still got a chance to tie it. Who knows if they miss ‘em both, make one, we have a chance to either send it to overtime or win it ... I wish (the Cavaliers) would have had a chance, and that’s unfortunate. It’s a tough one to swallow, because there was a lot of emotion on both benches. And, you know, it is what it is."
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