After making a conspicuous exit late in a hard-fought loss to the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday evening, University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball coach Barnaby Craddock was in full Rodney Dangerfield mode.
“We’re a top-10 team in the country, and it feels like there’s just a minimal respect for our players (from the officials),” Craddock vented, after being ejected in the final minute of an 87-78 loss at UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre.
“There were some really tough calls on our star players, and they’re in foul trouble the whole way. It just feels like when our star players are doing what they’re supposed to do, they’re not being treated with a lot of respect.”
UFV, after trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, had battled back to trim the deficit to two in the fourth quarter. But Craddock’s temperature reached the boiling point after the Pronghorns were granted a couple of generous continuation calls that led to three-point plays, while the Cascades played through some whistle-free contact at the offensive end.
With the home crowd already loudly voicing its displeasure with the zebras, the situation boiled over with 51.8 seconds left and the Cascades down by five. Joel Friesen drove to the hoop and tried to split a pair of Lethbridge defenders, and the ensuing collision produced a charging call on Friesen. That prompted Craddock to spike his suit jacket on the hardwood and pick up a technical foul.
He earned a second tech, and an early exit, in the dying seconds after offering a final high-volume critique.
The Cascades were assessed just three more personal fouls than the Pronghorns (29-26), but Lethbridge shot 15 more free throws (44-29) than did UFV. Four Cascades – Friesen, Kyle Grewal, James York and Mike James – fouled out, while the Pronghorns had just one such disqualification.
“I think sometimes it’s my job to stand up for the guys in the program,” Craddock said. “If they’re not being treated with respect and getting the calls they deserve, then sometimes the coach has got to stand up and say his piece.”
Craddock was quick to note that his team, ranked No. 9 in the nation, wasn’t in vintage form. They managed a 75-65 win over the Calgary Dinos on Friday, but lost the battle of the boards vs. Lethbridge – the Pronghorns out-rebounded the Cascades 46-36.
“We didn’t play our best game this weekend,” said Craddock, whose team’s 6-4 record is good for third in the West Division. “But we’ve got some big games coming up, and the season’s only half-way over.”