Morgan State men’s basketball coach Todd Bozeman’s opening remarks after an 82-78 overtime loss Wednesday at Towson were expected: kudos to Tigers coach Pat Skerry and his team, surprise that his Bears had allowed 14 3-pointers, disappointment over another “tough” night.
His next five-plus minutes at the dais were more scathing. Taking aim at the game’s officials, he vowed to never again agree to play a nonconference road game unless it’s overseen by a “split crew,” with referees representing both the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the host school’s league.
“Not doing that, no more,” said Bozeman, who made an exception for so-called “guarantee games,” in which Morgan State is paid to travel to face a high-major opponent. “So if you see we're not playing, it's because we don't have a split crew. Got to have a split crew. Not fair to my guys. Every time we come over here, it's crazy. ...
“I mean, we talk about stuff in all other walks of life, but we don't talk about this. That's just crazy, how they treat us and how they look at us. They call the fouls at certain times, and when you look at a stat sheet, you look at it, and guys have certain fouls, but they know how to tweak it. Don't nobody talk about that, though. That's some stuff that one of y'all need to do an exposé on, and you will get a lot of attention for it.”
Morgan State was called for 17 personal fouls in the game, six fewer than Towson, but Bozeman was assessed a technical foul early in the second half for arguing a questionable call. Bears star senior forward Phillip Carr had been whistled for his third foul 19 seconds into the half despite seemingly going straight up as he contested a shot inside by Tigers senior guard Mike Morsell.
Carr remained in the game, but Towson extended its seven-point halftime lead to 17 over the next six minutes.
Skerry, whose postgame news conference preceded Bozeman’s, told The Baltimore Sun in a text message later that the game’s officials — Justin Porterfield, Jeff Pon and Edward Corbett — are from a “consortium” of referees who also call Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East and Atlantic 10 games.
The Tigers played last year at Morgan State with an all-MEAC crew, Bozeman acknowledged, a game the Bears also lost. (The teams have traded hosting duties each year since 2013.) Next season’s game at Morgan State is the last of their current home-and-home contract, and Skerry said he would agree to having split crews in future games.
Bozeman reiterated that he had “no ill will” toward Skerry, but lamented that officials “sometimes” handle a game based on “how they look at the school.”
“I tell the guy sitting there, 'You're telling me there's no foul there?’ ” Bozeman recalled of one exchange Wednesday. “And he goes, 'Oh, you mean, your kid got eight fouls.' Really? That's what you're selling to me going up the court? My kid got eight fouls? Like, really? Come on, man. That's crazy to me. That's crazy to me.
“Some of these guys got attitudes, and they're not professional, so they put all the onus on a coach. A coach is not supposed to get up here and talk about officiating, because I'm not being a sore loser. They beat us. I got that. But still, nobody can tell me that they don't affect the game. They affect the game. They affect the game. I don't care what they say.
“You can't tell me Phil Carr goes up to dunk the ball, but he didn't get fouled, but yet every time they go up, they get the foul called. It happened last time we were here. Happened every time, man. It's happened every time. If we can't have a split crew, I'm not playing nobody that we play in nonconference if it's not a split crew. Not going to happen.”