Volume 92, Issue 92

Tuesday, March 23, 1999


Huskies use home court advantage

Back to back wins little consolation

Cinderella gets a bit of help to put on the basketball slippers

Layoff takes toll on tennis team

Cinderella gets a bit of help to put on the basketball slippers

HALIFAX – This past weekend Halifax hosted the CIAU men's basketball Final Eight championships, where the best teams, along with the best players and the best coaches, were invited to take part in the festivities which of course included some very exciting basketball games.

There is, however, one part of the equation which seems to be missing. Where does it say, the best officials? Well, it doesn't and despite the overwhelming success of the tournament, that fact will not be soon forgotten. Not by the media or the coaches, but most importantly, by the players.

It became apparent the officials chosen to referee these games were not accustomed to the high pressure, high stakes basketball action was going on in Nova Scotia. Officials for the most part are an important part of any sport and their roles should be respected for trying to positively contribute to the sport(s) they love. However, in this case it became all too obvious these officials were in over their heads.

They could not handle being booed by 8,000 fans and seemed to be swayed by the Cinderella story and the fact the St. Mary's Huskies were hometown favourites – their campus being a 20 minute walk from the Halifax Metro Centre where the tournament was being held.

While this may sound like sour grapes because Western lost an opening round match-up to an inferior team, it is not. The fact of the matter is Western wasn't screwed as badly as the other St. Mary's opponents – McMaster and Alberta.

To anybody who has any knowledge of fairness, it will become quite apparent these numbers aren't fair.

In the first contest, St. Mary's vs. Western, one St. Mary's player got to the foul line more than the entire Mustang team. In the end the discrepancy was 15-9 in favour of the Huskies which provided an opportunity to score six more points – very important in a four point game. The Mustangs, however, could have won the game on their own had they hit more than three of their foul shots.

In the second match-up, McMaster vs. St. Mary's for the chance to play in the national finals, these numbers become even more one-sided. Mac was called for 28 personal fouls compared to only 17 for St. Mary's, a difference unheard of at this elite level. The additional 11 fouls called on Mac meant St. Mary's got 36 trips to the charity stripe compared to only 13 for the Marauders. The Huskies scored 23 points from the line while Mac only scored nine. Final score, 77-68.

Then in the final, the most important game in Canadian basketball, foul calls and free throws once again favoured the Huskies for a third straight game. The Alberta Golden Bears were nailed for 25 fouls, translating into 37 foul shots for the Huskies, while St. Mary's was only called 18 times and Alberta capitalized for only 21 freebies. The final score was 73-69 (OT). Exciting, but unfortunately it shouldn't have been that way.

This is not to take away from the effort the Huskies made as they hit big time shots and played some clutch defence, but they should have never been in a position to win those games, especially the final two.

The refs were persuaded and bullied by the atmosphere surrounding the tournament and that should never have happened. It tarnishes a great event and tarnishes a trophy which a team deserved to win but didn't earn.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999