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#pounditFriday, December 9, 2022

Video: Illinois’ RJ Melendez called for absurd technical foul on dunk

RJ Melendez gets a technical foul

Illinois freshman RJ Melendez was called for a technical foul at a crucial moment during his team’s NCAA Tournament game against Houston on Sunday, and the Fighting Illini were right to be furious about it.

Melendez threw down a breakaway dunk that cut Houston’s lead to 46-42 with less than nine minutes remaining in the second half. An official felt the 6-foot-7 guard hung on the rim too long, so he was called for a technical foul.

There is no way that warranted a technical foul. Even CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore said it looked like Melendez’s momentum carried him, which is why he hung on the rim for a brief second. It’s difficult to let go immediately when you’re going that fast and dunking the ball. There was also no egregious taunt.

Houston hit the ensuing free throw to take a 47-42 lead. The fact that the call was made in a huge game at such a crucial time made it even worse.

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