The Big Ten tournament got heated on Friday afternoon as Michigan head coach Juwan Howard had to be restrained by the coaching staff and players before he was ejected by officials.
The Wolverines and Maryland were headed into a timeout when Howard became visibly upset midway through the second half. He exchanged words with Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon. The jawing escalated, causing staff members and players to step in and separate the two.
Terps’ guard Darryl Morsell found himself in the vocal exchange, the announcers said in the live broadcast.
Even as the officials’ whistles blew, the assistants still had to keep pushing Howard back. He was eventually ejected from the game with a double technical while Turgeon had a single technical.
Assistant Phil Martelli took over coaching duties.
“I don’t really know. I can’t say who was right, who was wrong,” Martelli said about the incident between Howard and the Maryland bench in postgame interviews. “It’s March. Something that he saw didn’t feel right for him.”
Michigan held a 10-point lead (57–47) when Howard exited the court at the 10:44 mark and didn’t let up on the gas. The Wolverines beat the Terrapins 79–66, and are headed to the Big Ten semifinals.
After the game, Turgeon addressed the “friction” from the first two Maryland-Michigan matchups Martelli mentioned in his interview as well as the rumors circling that he had made a comment about Michigan’s banners during the heated exchange with Howard.
“I’ve called the conference office, I’ve called the commissioner about what transpired in the first two games,” Turgeon said. “I said I wasn’t going to take it a third game. So I stood up for my team, I stood up for me.”
“There’s a rumor out there that I said something about the banner,” he added. “All I said is, ‘Don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to me.’ Nothing about a banner. Never backed down. I just stood there and said, ‘Don’t talk to me.’ “
Howard opened his postgame interview by apologizing to his team and said, “you can’t let your emotions get the best of you.”
“I’m always going to take ownership when I’m wrong and admit when I’m wrong, so that’s not the right way of how to handle that situation.”
He told his version of the heated incident. He said that while he was arguing with a ref about a call, he had stepped out of the coaching box. Turgeon pointed that out to the official.
“I said, ‘Aw come on man, this is what we’re doing today?'” Howard recalled. “[Turgeon] said, ‘Juwan I’m not going to let you talk to me. You don’t talk to me ever again.’ And then he charged at me.”
Howard said his initial instinct was to defend himself.
“I was raised by my grandmother and also by Chicago … When guys charge you, it’s time to defend yourself, especially when a grown man charges you.”
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