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Swofford: Ref made 'judgment call' in Syracuse-Duke game



By STEVE REED

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The ACC commissioner said Monday that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim won't be disciplined after he came onto the court to protesting a key charging call during the Orange's 66-60 loss at Duke over the weekend.

Commissioner John Swofford said he agreed with Boeheim's ejection during Saturday's game and noted the charge was a "judgment call" by officials.

Swofford wouldn't say whether official Tony Greene made the right call when he whistled Syracuse's C.J. Fair for charging with 10.4 seconds left, leading to Boeheim's brief fit of rage. Duke won 66-60.

Swofford said the call is not something the conference will review.

Duke Takes Rematch With Syracuse

"We don't second-guess judgment calls that officials give. They have to make them all of the time," Swofford said following a football press conference in Charlotte. "That's probably the toughest call in basketball to make, even with the way it's changed. I think it's made a little easier with the rule change, but it's still a tough call."

Under the revised block/charge rule put into place before this season in men's basketball, a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul.

Previously, a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor.

Syracuse and Duke fans will surely argue for years whether Duke's Rodney Hood had his feet set before getting the charge call to go his way.

Syracuse had the ball, down 60-58, when Fair drove for an apparent tying layup - and a potential blocking foul that could have put the Orange up by one. Instead, the basket was taken away and Duke sealed the win by sinking three technical fouls as Boeheim headed to the locker room.

"You are going to have 50 percent of the people who think it was the right call, and 50 percent of the people who think it was the wrong call," Swofford said.

There was no doubting the way Boeheim felt about it.

"I just thought that was the worst call of the year, that's all," Boeheim said Saturday night. "I hated to see the game decided on that call."

Swofford said the decision to eject Boeheim was handled correctly, saying "I think Jim would agree with that."

He hasn't spoken directly to Boeheim, but Swofford did talk to Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross about the incident. Swofford relayed the message to Boeheim that, "It would be good to stay in the bench area. (But) he knows that."

Syracuse joined the ACC in basketball this season, coming over from the now-defunct Big East. The two Duke-Syracuse games have garnered a lot of attention for the ACC in what is a budding rivalry.

"A little drama is not all bad in the whole scheme of things," Swofford said with a laugh. "We've had a lot of drama throughout the history of this league, particularly in basketball. That is part of what makes it the great basketball league it is. And Syracuse adds tremendously to our league."

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Donald February 24 2014 at 7:23 PM

It's normally a combination of calls which leads to the type of meltdown with Boeheim. Jabari Parker actually charged into a Carolina player shortly before this call and no call was made. Refs will make mistakes, but they need to be consistent on their calls.

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Joey February 25 2014 at 12:48 AM

First let me say I AM A DUKE FAN!!!! I grew up in Durham not more than 10 minutes from Cameron and love my Blue Devils! Watching that play at full speed I myself was in disbelief at the call. After watching it in slow motion I know with all certainty that it was the wrong call. In slow motion it is very clear that Hood's left foot was still in motion and he wasn't set. After watching the ACC and especially the Duke-unc battles every year for the last 30 some years I can say that this isnt the first "questionable" call that an ACC official has made and it wont be the last. If anyone looks at the boxscore from the last Duke-unc game you will notice a ridiculous difference in the amount of free throws that unc had. unc had 31 free throw attempts to Duke's 12. NO im not saying thats why Duke lost. When you go 8 minutes without making a basket you are almost certain to get beat as did Duke. I am simply calling attention to the fact that more times than not in the ACC the home team tends to get the more favorable side of the calls. With all of that being said I must call attention to the fact that when that call was made Syracuse was still in the game. The reaction to the call by Coach Boeheim and the following shots from the technicals is what lost the game for Syracuse. I myself have coached football for the past 17 years and can tell you that there have been many times that I have had calls go against my team that I didnt agree with. I of course informed the official of my thoughts on the calls but at no time did I push it to the point that my actions would hurt my team. The most influencial words I have ever heard in reference to an official came from the mother of a former Duke womens basketball player. These words have stuck with me for years and hopefully will be useful to many others. She said "While we may not always agree with the calls that are made there is nothing that you are going to say that will change their mind. Most of us don't even like officials but they are a part of the game and we have to coexist with them no matter how much it hurts." In hearing those words I gained a whole new approach to officials and have seen the benefits. I make my point and most of the time I get a make up call either later in the game or in a future game that those officials are involved in. I would like to think that those make up calls come from either them seeing they made an error or maybe just a show of respect because of how I handled the situation. Without a doubt Coach Boeheim is a hall of famer and I just hope that his reactions dont come back to haunt him later in the season in a game that means much more than just a regular season game. I wold love to say that I think that Duke could win it all this year but I cant. Syracuse on the other hand has an amazing team with one of the best coaches in the game and I wouldnt be surprise to see them cutting down the nets this season!!!!

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3 replies
wtesidewls68 February 25 2014 at 10:28 AM

Why dont they grow a pair and just say they believe the referee blew the call!

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matkev February 24 2014 at 8:24 PM

Hood was planted, however a few plays back Parker and his n 1 was actually the charge the Orangemen should of got. To rlr73060 a ref afraid to make a call, if that happened 1 min into OT are u going to call it, then call it with 10.4 sec. Boeheim lost the game the ref isn't going to chg the call. U still have 10.4 sec to win. Remember the Pitt game Ennis hits game winner with 3.3 sec. Even Orange player knew coach lost it...................................... So, the ref swallowed the whistle in 1st game n it cost Duke the game. What happened to let the kids decide, Hood makes a great play gets fouled and can't get to decide the game. So keep swallowing hope it taste good.

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Gino Crump February 25 2014 at 10:45 AM

Coach Boeheim, welcome to the land of "Duke Privilege!" Duke ALWAYS receives the "judgment call" when it count. Check their history. Its very rare that Duke looses close games. The referees understand the rules of engagement, if the game is close, Duke Privilege is invoked and they will get the benefit of any close or not so close call. "Duke Privilege" is like the "Jordan Rules" in the NBA, the referees understood that TV revenue pays the bill and he could never foul out of a game and he must be protected at all cost. This is the same dynamic in college basketball, Duke is the team that the masses love to hate and Duke TV revenue pays the bills. "Money Rules" is the the unwritten dictate, Duke just happens to be the beneficiary. Coach K is a great coach and Duke always has great players, but after watching referees change the outcome of Duke games for many years, the only occlusion is that we are watching Professional Wrestling when it comes to Duke Basketball.

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Brian Hope February 25 2014 at 12:32 AM

I'd like to see a coach who feels he's been "jobbed" by a ref simply take his team off the floor, and tell the ref that he is deliberately forfeiting the game as a protest against the call. THAT would be an attention-getter!

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1 reply
kkwc1945 Brian Hope February 25 2014 at 12:48 AM

Totally agree.

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cjersey55 February 24 2014 at 8:25 PM

justified.

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mo hill February 25 2014 at 12:20 AM

i think the best part of this picture is the look the assistant coach in the background has on his face

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1 reply
rflection mo hill February 25 2014 at 12:32 AM

I agree 100%, mo... his face says, "this ain't gonna play well"

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hedgeyb February 25 2014 at 11:40 AM

yes, I saw the game and there was a blocking call that went against Syacuse when one of its players was set under its basket and Duke was awarded the penalty shot. I believe that on this call the ref. was wrong.

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1 reply
chrispnet hedgeyb February 25 2014 at 11:46 AM

Yes...Duke got the favorable call on a similar play.
Boeheim, in my opinion, was reacting not just to the call in question, but to the general state of bad officiating in the NCAA.

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rpterbet February 24 2014 at 7:58 PM

Great call at Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night! Hood was planted before Fair went up. Boeheim took any chance away from Syracuse to tie or win the game. Showed youngsters adult coaching techniques! Coach K didn't go crazy when there was a no call when Hood was fouled on the winning slam in the first game!

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1 reply
larry & gail rpterbet February 24 2014 at 8:04 PM

Coach K is ALWAYS crazy

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