Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall will not coach Wednesday’s exhibition game after his court-storming outburst during Tuesday night’s game at McGill University.
Marshall received a second technical foul and ejection early in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, leading him to chase two referees while his players and assistant coaches attempted to intervene. After a minute of yelling and pushing players and coaches, he departed the gym. He did not make physical contact with either of the officials targeted for his displeasure.
“I visited with Coach Marshall this morning to inform him that he is suspended for this afternoon’s final exhibition game in Canada,” WSU interim athletic director Darron Boatright said in a news release. “While I understand the competitive spirit that accompanies coaching, there remains a standard of professional behavior that is inherent in a position of leadership that we all must meet. That standard was not met last night.”
In the news release, Marshall said he accepted the university’s decision.
“I fully accept the decision of the athletic department and the university,” he said. “As a program we expect to represent Wichita State University in a manner in which we can all be proud of, on and off the court. Last night, in my attempt to stand up for, and protect, my team I fell short of those expectations. I will gladly sit out tonight’s game in hopes that a lesson can be learned that it’s not just about doing the right thing, but doing it the right way.”
After the game, Marshall said he was not proud of his reaction. Several factors led to his anger and frustration at McGill. Three times, the scoreboard operator neglected to credit WSU for a point. The game, played under FIBA rules, was officiated with wide latitude for bumping, grabbing and other physical play. WSU’s Rauno Nurger suffered a concussion and needed three stitches to close a cut on his chin suffered during a collision in the first half.
When WSU’s Zach Brown was called for a foul while fighting for a rebound, Marshall said he had seen enough.
“I knew I was going to get the boot when that whistle went off,” Marshall said. “I didn’t like the call and I reacted. At some point, enough’s enough. We had problems with the scorer’s table all night. We had to make sure we were coaching the game, but keep an eye on the scoreboard so we could get the points. Plays and calls we don’t normally see. We’re a long way from home.”
WSU, which is 2-1 on its exhibition tour, trailed 32-29 at halftime and 58-46 late in the third quarter. WSU rallied to within 58-56 and appeared to win possession of the ball after a missed shot by McGill’s Dele Ogundokun. The foul on Brown gave the ball back to McGill and Francois Bourque made a long jumper, setting off Marshall’s anger.
The Shockers responded to the ejection with a 12-3 run and outscored McGill 29-13 in the final quarter. The Shockers defeated McGill 77-71.
“Us staying together, (Marshall) fighting for us it’s very important,” WSU guard Daishon Smith said. “He felt like we were getting the short end of the stick. To see him fight for us made us want to fight for him.”
After the game, Marshall declined to attach long-term significance to the emotional events of the fourth quarter. Marshall also received a technical during Sunday’s loss at Carleton University for telling a referee to “run the court” when he did not approve of the referee’s hustle.
“I’m not going to say it’s going do anything more than get them motivated the play the last X amount of minutes in the fourth quarter in Montreal against McGill University,” he said. “I hope. You would like to see the fight, the determination, the toughness evolve with this young basketball team. Maybe. It is possible.”
The Shockers finish their tour at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday against IndiSport All-Stars, a team of local professional players.
▪ WSU’s Markis McDuffie played for the first time on the trip. He suffered a partial meniscus tear in his right knee in early August and is rehabbing the injury with hopes of avoiding surgery.
“It was great that he was even able to play, because his health is of foremost importance,” Marshall said. “He was very active. We’ll see. We’ll determine whether or not if he needs (surgery) after he gets back and how he responds to these minutes he played.”
McDuffie, a sophomore forward, scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds.