Things got very chippy at the end of Tuesday night’s North Dakota-Iowa game.
With an 11-point lead and the final seconds ticking away, Iowa’s Nicholas Baer had the ball and no intention to do anything but let time run out. North Dakota’s Corey Baldwin had other ideas and employed uncharacteristically aggressive defense to rip it away and feed a teammate for a layup as the buzzer sounded. The bucket did not count but did have a profound impact on the game.
Interestingly enough, the Hawkeyes were favored by 11 points so the garbage-time intrigue had real-world implications for the more degenerate faction.
Enraged, Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery stormed off the court and instructed his players not to shake hands with the Fighting Hawks and coach Brian Jones.
“The game’s over,” McCaffery said postgame. “We don’t need Pete getting knocked to the floor. We don’t need guys getting up in Jordan’s face. We don’t need Nicholas’s head getting chopped off.”
“I wasn’t pleased with how the game ended and the things that happened,” he said postgame. “I will say this: I have a lot of respect for Brian [Jones] and certainly (North Dakota assistant coach) Jeff Horner. I don’t think they teach that kind of stuff, but I was not having it. That’s not the way to play.”
Jones said his team was just playing hard until the final whistle.
“We want to come here and play well. We want our family and friends to be proud of what we’re doing and be respected. I get the heat of it. It’s just the heat of the moment. Coach (McCaffery) is a high-character guy, I’m not blaming that. There were some things down the stretch that both teams could have cleaned up.”
This is a situation where everyone looks bad. North Dakota should have let the clock run out. McCaffery and Iowa overreacted by storming off the court. It was a dark night for sportsmanship.
Both coaches did their best to de-escalate the situation postgame so there’s a chance bad blood won’t linger.