Providence needed a spark Friday night, and Ed Cooley tried to provide it. Instead, the coach received a technical foul that all but ended his Friars’ hopes in the NCAA Tournament.
Trailing 11th-seeded Dayton by eight points with 3:42 left, Cooley addressed his team during a timeout with some old-school chair tossing. It wasn’t Bobby Knight-level or anything, but it was meant to send a message to his players.
The refs evidently thought Cooley’s message was for them and immediately T’d him up. Cooley, who argued with the officials earlier in the game, immediately jumped to his own defense, while Dayton kept building momentum en route to a 66-53 win over sixth-seeded Providence.
“Me personally, I’m a character guy,” Cooley said, via SI.com. “That to me was wrong in my opinion. I’m coaching my team.”
The NCAA disagreed, as coordinator of officials John Adams said in a statement, via SI.com, that Cooley’s chair slap constituted “bench personnel committing an unsportsmanlike act.”
Also at issue was whether or not the game — played in Columbus, Ohio — really was a neutral site. Dayton is located 70 miles west of Columbus, and Nationwide Arena was filled with “Go Flyers” chants. The Friars were called for 21 fouls, compared to the Flyers’ 14, and shot just seven free throws, compared to Dayton’s 30.
“I’m going to stick with the term that this was a neutral setting,” Cooley said, via SI.com. “Extremely neutral.”
Dayton played its first-round tournament game at its home arena.
Thumbnail photo via Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports Images