BOZICH | Harrell's ejection mars Louisville's victory over Weste - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Harrell's ejection mars Louisville's victory over Western Kentucky

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Montrezl Harrell was ejected with a flagrant two technical in Louisville's win over WKU Saturday. Montrezl Harrell was ejected with a flagrant two technical in Louisville's win over WKU Saturday.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) – A quick and bruising three-point play on Louisville's raucous 76-67 victory over Western Kentucky at Diddle Arena Saturday afternoon:

1. For more than 19 minutes, Montrezl Harrell was playing like a serious national player of the year candidate, blocking shots, making passes, and grabbing rebounds. He even made Louisville's only three-point shot of the first half.

Credit Harrell with 14 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes – while wearing a bizarre pair of black-and-yellow sneakers. As usual, nobody played harder than Harrell.

Then Harrell had a serious and inexcusable lack of self-control, getting himself ordered to the locker room by the officials for throwing a forearm at a Western Kentucky player after a scramble for a loose ball near the WKU bench.

Can't do that.

Ever.

Even if you believe that nonsense was going on during the scramble. Even if you're convinced that somebody pushed or poked you. Even if you have another explanation.

No punches. No forearms. No wild elbows. No explanation justifies any reaction in that direction.

Punches injure people. Punches show lack of self-control. Punches incite crowds. Punches belong in the boxing ring. Punches stain the reputation of the players – and his team.

No punches.

"He deserved to be ejected," U of L coach Rick Pitino told FoxSports after the game.

Harrell said in the locker room after the game: "I'm very proud of my team. I told those guys I'm a leader and I shouldn't have reacted like I did."

The play of the day was made by Louisville freshman Anas Mahmoud, who grabbed Harrell by the waist and pulled him away from the altercation. Blessed is the peacemaker. Mahmoud showed poise when poise was difficult to see around him.

College basketball upgraded the penalty system several seasons ago for players who cross the line with punches or flagrant elbows. Coaches and administrators are aware of the dangers created by physical play.

Remember the fallout from the Xavier-Cincinnati game several seasons ago. Google the Minnesota-Ohio State fight from more 1972.

This situation did not become those situations. But that's always that risk when one forearm becomes two forearms, which becomes four and then eight.

Harrell crossed the line and was assessed a flagrant two technical foul with 38.7 second left in the first half.

He missed the remainder of the game but won't have to sit the Cards' next game because the Flagrant 2 foul wasn't given for fighting -- though the Atlantic Coast Conference has the authority to review the video and could issue a suspension if it classified the swing differently. If Harrell is wise, he'll return with more control of his competitive spirit.

2. Three-point shooting remains an adventure for Rick Pitino's team. The Cards made only one of 13 threes during their victory over North Carolina Wilmington last Sunday. Some predicted the Cards could reduce their three-point attempts.

Wrong.

They kept firing. In the first half, the Cards made only one of 12.

In the second half, without Harrell, Rick Pitino's players figured it out. Terry Rozier made three. Anton Gill made one. So did Chris Jones. Louisville made five of 10 threes in the second half.

The three-pointers were critical to holding off the Hilltoppers, who stirred serious thoughts of an upset in the second half. Terry Rozier led Louisville with 32 points. Jones had 10.

3. The Cards have one more game before Christmas – Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center against Cal State Northridge.

It shouldn't be much of a test. The Matadors are coached by former U of L assistant coach Reggie Theus. They've lost eight of their first 11, including an 18-point loss to third-ranked Arizona in early November.

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