Danny Hurley has a solid resume in his fourth season as head coach of the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team. Hurley made the NCAA tournament for the first time last season, developed an NBA lottery pick in James Bouknight, and has his team back to playing at a top-25 level again this season. There’s one thing Hurley hasn’t done since taking over the program: beat Villanova.
The Wildcats have been the premier power in the Big East for much of the last decade, and are again a top-10 team this season. This felt like a true measuring stick game for the Huskies. UConn played its heart out to earn a season-affirming victory, but Hurley wasn’t around to see it. Instead, he was tossed from the game in the first half on one of the weakest ejections you will ever see.
With under five minutes left in the first half, Hurley started yelling at the refs when he believed guard Tyrese Martin got hacked on a layup attempt. The refs didn’t make the call, and Hurley barked at the officials as play went down the other end. Hurley was eventually given a technical foul by the refs. He proceeded to turn around and pump up the home crowd, which earned him another technical. Seriously.
Watch the ejection below:
Here’s the full sequence:
This is simply one of the softest ejections you will ever see in college basketball.
The ref must have believed Hurley was showing him up by igniting the crowd, but he needs to grow up. This is a high stakes game with less than two weeks before the conference tournament, and no one came to see him. To toss Hurley in that moment is completely inexcusable.
The official who tossed Hurley was heavily criticized on Twitter during and after the game:
Just saw the Dan Hurley ejection. What an embarrassment by those officials. Are you kidding me? Imagine feeling that threatened/shown up that you have to call a technical because Hurley tried to pump up the crowd. Unreal.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) February 23, 2022
Absolutley horrendous by this crew to toss Hurley out of the game. HORRENDOUS.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 23, 2022
That is one of the worst calls I have ever seen in my life.
A miscarriage of justice in Hartford.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 23, 2022
Without their head coach, UConn still came through with an absolutely incredible victory.
The Huskies trailed 69-65 with 31 seconds remaining as Villanova went to the free throw line. Nova missed, and UConn got a three from 6’9 senior forward Tyler Polley. R.J. Cole then stole the ball from Collin Gillespie and made a layup. Cole then took a charge from Gillespie to seal the win.
Watch full highlights of the game here:
Hurley wasn’t able to coach his team in the biggest game of their regular season, but credit the Huskies for one incredible response.