‘I think it’s a form of cheating’


OMAHA, Neb. – Despite a number of calls that did not go St. John’s way, Rick Pitino declined to criticize the officiating officer.

The Johnnies attempted 13 fewer free throws than Creighton and drew another 12 fouls. There were also two non-calls in the final 20 seconds of their 66-65 loss to No. 22 Creighton that were significant in the painful loss.

Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner appeared to foul Daniss Jenkins when he went for a loose ball that led to two Trey Alexander game-winning free throws with 12.3 seconds left, and Jordan Dingle appeared to be fouled by Francisco Farabello on his putback attempt at the buzzer.

The Hall of Fame coach went into detail about his approach to refereeing.

Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) defends a shot attempt by St. John's Red Storm guard Daniss Jenkins
Ryan Kalkbrenner defends a shot attempt by Daniss Jenkins during St. John’s 66-65 loss to Creighton. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“I don’t shout at the referees during the match. “This is going to sound absolutely crazy: I think it’s a form of cheating if you’re called on every play and berate the officials, inciting the crowd,” Pitino said. “You’re trying to get a call. I don’t believe in that. I have said to referees maybe a thousand times during my tenure, don’t listen to the other coach, you are paid to be a referee, not to listen to coaches. Most of them stick to it, the ones that aren’t great don’t stick to it.

There is a certain coach in Connecticut, Dan Hurley, who is known for officiating, among many others around the country.

Pitino recently made headlines for saying he wants to play the Huskies at Carnesecca Arena next year, which hasn’t happened since 1990.

There is growing rivalry between the schools.

Rick Pitino says he equates yelling at officials during the game to cheating.
Rick Pitino says he equates yelling at officials during the game to cheating. AP

An important bright spot in the defeat was the play on the bench.

St. John’s reserves defeated Creighton’s 29-4 and put together a 14-2 run in the second half.

Backup center Zuby Ejiofor (six points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals) was especially important in that spurt.

“I was very impressed with the way our bench played. We just played great defense,” Pitino said. “Zuby was very intense inside and did a lot of great things defensively.”

Freshman Brady Dunlap (ankle) was questionable but played 10 minutes off the bench. He remained scoreless with three rebounds.

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