Intentional or Not?

Last Updated: January 25th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

College Basketball on Saturday always brings some wild action to the court. A great game along with a bit of controversy emerged from Tucson, Arizona on Saturday when the Arizona Wildcats hosted the Houston Cougars in what turned out to be a great basketball game. Heading into the game Arizona has been really struggling and ranked near the bottom of the Pac-10. Houston on the other hand has been fairly good with a 12-4 record going in to the contest. Houston started out of the gates strong and quickly suggested that Arizona would fall victim by a steam rolling defeat yet again. However, an unlikely change of events would make a big impact on the game.

Late into the second half in a game where Houston was rolling 63-51, Cougars standout guard Aubrey Coleman and Arizona’s forward Chase Budinger were involved in an altercation. Coleman is the second leading scorer for the Cougars and already had 14 points and 7 rebounds. However, Coleman was called for a charge after driving into Budinger. After Budinger fell to the floor is when the action picked up, Coleman appeared to glance down before stepping directly on the face of Budinger. Budinger quickly popped up and went after Coleman and a few pushes and shoves were exchanged. Budinger got charged with a technical foul for his retaliation tactics. The referees decided that Coleman’s actions where intent while charging a flagrant foul and also ejecting him from the game.

The altercation ramped up the Wildcat home crowd while also igniting the team. Arizona appeared more motivated the last 9 minutes following to close out the game. The Wildcats trimmed the lead slightly, but still trailed by 8 points with a minute and a half to go in the game. However, with the help of a Houston turnover and some two missed free throws in the final seconds Arizona guard Nic Wise hit a game tying 3 pointer with 10 seconds to go to force the game into overtime tied at 88-88. In the extra period, there was not much scoring involved. Wise hit the only basket from the floor with another long ball behind the arc and the Wildcats surged for the 96-90 victory. Houston definitely suffered a bit down the stretch without Coleman’s presence and the Cougars failed to hit a single shot from the floor in overtime going 0-10.

After the game, there was a lot of expected talk about the altercation on the floor. Houston coach Tom Penders admitted to how big of impact not having Coleman on the floor affected the team. Penders also went on to take up for his starting guard by saying that he definitely did not think the actions were intentional. The argument may be made because of how Coleman made the malicious action appear. Seemingly it appeared he accidentally stepped across Budinger while coming down on his head, but if you look at the replay Coleman clearly looks down at Budinger before lifting his head and stepping on the forwards face. Despite the intent of Coleman, the officials most likely made the right call by at least ejecting him from the game and avoiding any other conflicts that may have taken place the rest of the game. Still the game was a perfect example of how heated and passionate the basketball action gets on the floor which is why fans love College Basketball. Decide for yourself, if you think this action was purposely intended by Coleman by checking out the video here…

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, January 25th, 2009 @ 2:11 pm (EST)
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