Sometimes in moments of anger and disbelief, all you can do is chuckle and keep moving forward.
That was the exact situation Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak found himself in when he met with reporters via Zoom on Saturday night, just moments after the Utes suffered their third consecutive loss in a 67-64 defeat to Oregon.
So as he took his seat and began to prep for the litany of questions that were to follow, all Krystkowiak could do was smile and laugh because he knew what was upcoming. It wasn't because the result was hilarious in any regards, it was far more ridiculous.
“Wow, all I can say is wow,” Krystkowiak said. “You know what a team goes through and we scrapped and we played our butts off and it wasn’t error free by any means, and we make plenty of mistakes. Oregon made plenty of mistakes. Dana (Altman) and I probably made plenty of mistakes. But I think at the end of the day, we let the players determine a game and so to make up a call at the end, that didn’t even happen is mind boggling."
Unfortunately for Krystkowiak, those postgame words are going to cost him.
On Wednesday, the Pac-12 formally reprimanded Krystkowiak for his comments in Utah's heartbreaking defeat to the Ducks.
“The Pac-12 membership has established rules that prohibit our coaches from publicly commenting about officiating,” commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “We have an obligation to our members to enforce approved Conference rules. As part of our officiating program there is a protocol in place for our coaches to provide feedback directly to the coordinator of officials.”
Here's how the situation unfolded....
Trailing 65-64 with 10 seconds left, freshman guard Pelle Larsson had the ball and drove to the hoop where he was cut off. He then pivoted and kicked the ball out to junior forward Timmy Allen.
The errant pass eluded Allen and bounced out towards midcourt, where he ran it down and began to dribble towards the hoop with five seconds left. But official Deldre Carr had other ideas, blowing his whistle and calling a double-dribble on Allen — a call that was met with shock, anger and disgust.
Despite protests from players and Krystkowiak, the call held true and Oregon was able to hang on the rest of the way.
If Krystkowiak's initial comments might not have been the ones that spurned the reprimand from the Pac-12, it was definitely his follow-up comments that got the conference's attention. He spoke of very pointedly in his postgame presser, noting the fact that the officials repeatedly missed calls throughout the game so calling a double-dribble in that situation was "mind-boggling."
“And palming doesn’t seem to be called. I can show you 15 clips of palming tonight,” Krystkowiak said. “So I am really confused and I feel really bummed for our team. I feel bad for the game, that it has to be that way. That’s how I feel about it.”
In the end, it's a worthy punishment for standing up for his players and defending their rights to determine the outcome of a game. After all, it's what they're supposed to be doing on the court.
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