Record-setting basketball win displays poor sportsmanship
Lincoln University of Pennsylvania wrote a chapter of basketball history Saturday that would make James Naismith roll in his grave and give John Wooden a heart attack.
A perennial power in NCAA Division III - the same level at which Pacific competes - Lincoln managed to break an impossible barrier, defeating Ohio State-Marion 201-78 in a tournament in West Virginia. In the process, the Lions set Division III records for points in a game, points in a half (twice) and three-pointers in a game, knocking down 28 treys.
Sami Wylie, one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, scored a school record 69 points and set a Division III record with 21 longballs.
Blowouts like this are few and far in between, thankfully, but are becoming more prevalent with the run-and-gun offense that Lincoln employs. That style, developed by the Division III men's program at Grinnell, revolves around quick shots at the offensive end, then constantly pressing and forcing turnovers at the defensive end.
The run-and-gun style crashed hard against an evident lack of ability on Saturday. Ohio State-Marion, a four-year branch school of Ohio State University whose curriculum is more like that of a two-year school, found themselves humiliated by the up-tempo game. Especially considering that Marion suited only six players and turned the ball over 62 times.
Lincoln did not let off the press in the second half, despite a 97-44 halftime lead. One Lincoln supporter I spoke with Saturday night called it an embarrassing show.
To be honest, tournament officials should have known better than to pair these two teams. Lincoln came back this season loaded after advancing to the Division III sectional semifinals. Ohio State-Marion, which doesn't even list a national affiliation, had five losses of 40 points or more this season before facing Lincoln.
If you're Lincoln coach Garfield Yuille, when do you decide to slow it down, call the dogs off and save your opponent an added dose of humiliation? According to Pacific men's basketball coach Jason Lowery, the answer is not an easy one.
'There is no exact time or exact score,' said Lowery, who coached the Boxers through a blowout of their own in beating Multnomah 111-71 last Tuesday. 'A 20-point lead with four minutes left is nothing with the 3-point line, time outs and fouls, especially against an up-tempo team.
'It's not really your job to keep them in the game. If they're competing and trying and you're competing and trying and the score starts to balloon, there's nothing you can really do about that.'
The one thing you can do is pull the first unit, which Lowery did on Tuesday when Pacific's game with Multnomah was well out of hand. The only starter who saw action late was A.J. Jergens, who subbed out with 4:51 left and finished with a below-average offensive performance of two points. As a freshman learning the game, Jergens needed the time.
To Yuille's credit, Lincoln started only two of its regular starting five. One of those was Wylie, however, who played a minute more than his 23 minutes per game average. Darrel White, the other regular starter, scored 28. Dwight Dean, Lincoln's leading scorer, came off the bench to blow up for 33.
In the end, however, it didn't matter what squad Lincoln put on the floor, chances are it was going to be a blowout. But you have to question the benefit of leaving starters in for 20-plus minutes when your team leads by 53 points at the half.
'In a 123-point win, that's probably not in the best spirit of the game,' Lowery said. 'You have to have a healthy respect for the competition and you don't want to purposely embarrass them.'
We just hope that Lincoln doesn't schedule DeVry or Caltech next year.