CBS crew defends ejection talk

jtipton@herald-leader.comJanuary 5, 2010 

With CBS announcers continuing to say DeMarcus Cousins should have been ejected from Kentucky's game against Louisville on Saturday, UK Coach John Calipari expressed surprise that the incident caused an uproar.

"It was scrum," Calipari said of the fight for a loose ball that included Cousins delivering a forearm into the neck of U of L's Jared Swopshire.

After noting that Cousins reacted to getting hit in the head by Swopshire's knee, Calipari said, "It was not like a catch it at the top of the key and throw an elbow. I'm surprised it all jumped out."

During halftime, CBS announcers Tim Brando and Seth Davis stationed in New York said Cousins' actions merited an ejection and automatic suspension from Kentucky's next game.

Brando and Davis stood by those comments when contacted yesterday.

"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind," said Brando, who noted that the rule against fighting makes no distinction between a punch or a forearm shot. "I saw it very much the same thing as a closed fist. I thought he used his elbow and forearm as a weapon with the player's head on the floor."

Davis sent an e-mail, which criticized the referees, Tony Greene, Doug Shows and John Cahill. "In my not-humble-enough opinion, they blew it, especially considering they had the ability (and in fact were required) to go to the replay monitor to figure out what happened," Davis wrote.

John Adams, the NCAA National Men's Basketball Officiating Coordinator, confirmed that an elbow or forearm (or a kick or head butt or any menacing action) can be considered the same as a punch, thus meriting the penalty for fighting (an ejection and one-game suspension).

Adams talked to the referees after the game and said they told him they did not see the same view on the sideline monitor as fans (or Brando and Davis) did on CBS replays.

The view the referees saw supported the intentional personal foul on Cousins, Adams said.

When asked if the view Brando and Davis saw would support their contention that the proper penalty was an ejection and suspension, Adams said, "Change 'would' to 'could.' "

Meanwhile, a video available on YouTube showed Calipari apparently screaming at Louisville's Reginald Delk after play was stopped eight seconds into the game.

Calipari appears to be reacting to an exchange between Delk and Eric Bledsoe. "... He'll kick your ass after the game," the UK coach appears to say to Delk. "You messed with the wrong guy."

When asked on a teleconference Monday if he screamed at Delk, Calipari said, "I don't know. The game was so emotional.

"Watching the game, that rivalry from afar, I was always impressed. Now we played in it. It was a battle."

Neither Delk nor Louisville Coach Rick Pitino wanted to comment on the YouTube video, U of L spokesman Kenny Klein said.

Delk's father, Rickie, said he spoke with his son after the game. His son did not mention any threat delivered by Calipari.

"From what we saw on TV, in the first seconds of the game, it looked like he and the Bledsoe kid were in a little tussle," Rickie Delk said. "To me, that was just a big rivalry. People were jacked up to start the game. To me, it was just playing basketball."

On a Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference, Calipari seemed to suggest UK simply reacted to the tone set by Louisville.

"We'll play however we have to play," he said. "I mean, whatever we have to do, we'll do. It became very physical and contentious. It's not what I'd want, but however the thing goes, that's how we're going to play."

Herald-Leader sports columnist Mark Story contributed to this report.

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