BIRMINGHAM — After falling 73-51 to Alabama basketball in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at Legacy Arena, Maryland coach Kevin Willard addressed officiating, including the second foul call on star Julian Reese.
Reese earned his second foul with 17:03 left in the first half with the Terrapins leading 9-4. Reese subbed out and came back in a few minutes later to pick up his third foul before halftime.
“The second foul call was mysterious and even the third one,” Willard said. “I played him with two fouls all year. You know, you can’t call that second foul. Not in an NCAA Tournament game. That’s just my feeling on it. I thought it was a horrible call, and it changed the outcome of the game.
“I can elaborate a lot on, but I will probably get in a lot of trouble. … The second call was a terrible foul call. You can’t take our best player out of the game when the game was as physical as it was. It was a horrible call. It changed our whole game plan.”
Willard said the Maryland game plan involved working the ball through Reese in the high and low post, a strategy the Terrapins have been implementing the second half of the season. Reese finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting with two rebounds and a block before fouling out with 2:24 left. He played 21 minutes and finished with a plus-minus of negative-4.
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This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Maryland coach Kevin Willard says one foul call changed game vs. Alabama