Brad Underwood goes off on officials over terrible technical foul call
Illinois coach Brad Underwood fumed about what he felt was a game-changing technical foul call in his team’s NCAA Tournament loss on Sunday.
Illinois freshman RJ Melendez was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim too long after a dunk with just under nine minutes left in Sunday’s game against Houston. The call was immediately widely criticized, as it appeared clear that Melendez’s momentum was the primary reason he hang on as long as he did.
After the game, Underwood said the officials had admitted the call was a mistake, but was not placated by that. Underwood even questioned whether the call was “personal” and blamed it for killing his team’s momentum.
“You make a play and then to have that call?,” Underwood said, via Sam Marsdale of 247 Sports. “(The ref) told me in the moment he should have never called it, but in the moment he called it. So maybe it’s personal? I don’t know. Come on, and to kill momentum like that? Horrible.”
Melendez’s dunk cut Houston’s lead to 46-42, but the Cougars made the ensuing free throw and closed the game on a 22-11 run after the call. Underwood is not necessarily wrong to claim that the call significantly impacted the momentum of the game.
In light of how bad the call was, it’s kind of a surprise Underwood managed not to react like this in the heat of the moment.
Photo: Jan 11, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports