2001 NCAA Men's Tourney
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Where were the whistles?

Duke non-foul calls irk fans, Arizona's Olson

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Posted: Tuesday April 03, 2001 12:39 AM

  Luke Walton Arizona coach Lute Olson (right) and Luke Walton feel that the officials missed several big calls. AP

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Basketball officials insist a foul is a foul, whether it happens in some start-of-season game or in the NCAA tournament.

There was a buzz around the Final Four, though, that if the foul involves Duke, the Blue Devils will get the benefit of the call.

There were several moments in Duke's 82-72 victory over Arizona for the NCAA championship Monday night when fouls that seemed obvious weren't called, including one first-half collision between Jason Williams and Jason Gardner.

Williams had two personals at the time and a third would have been crucial. It turned into a no-call, though, leaving usually mild-mannered Arizona coach Lute Olson gesturing at the officials.

Olson was asked about the play after the game.

"There are going to be calls that are going to be made," he said, measuring his words. "I frankly thought Jason Williams fouled out twice with pushoffs and it didn't happen. The officiating didn't get us. Duke got us."

Gardner remembered the play and was asked if he thought Williams had committed a foul.

"I can't answer that," he said. "I'm not the referee. I wish it went our way but it didn't. You've just got to play."

Later there was some brutal body contact under the basket between Duke's Shane Battier and Loren Woods of Arizona and again there was no whistle from the officials.

Arizona's Gene Edgerson, who had four fouls in eight minutes, shrugged off the sequences.

"You don't worry about calls or no-calls," he said. "You just play. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm not here to say they made mistakes. You don't hear the whistle. You just keep playing."

Woods and Michael Wright also finished with four fouls for Arizona. Williams had four for Duke, which was whistled for 17 personals while Arizona was called for 20.

Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team blew a 22-point lead against Duke in the semifinals, was also critical of some key calls in that game. He screamed when Lonny Baxter fouled out of the game but later refused to make an issue of it, saying, "I can't comment on the officiating."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has heard the whispers about elite programs like his getting an edge and he doesn't like it.

"I think in any sport there's a tendency at times to blame something that shouldn't be blamed," he said on the eve of the final game. "I think what we do, if we lose, we look at ourselves first and figure out what decisions we may have made, our game plan or whatever and then take responsibility."


 
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