If Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber could have done anything differently during the Wildcats’ series of exhibition games last week in Brazil, he would have taken a closer look at the Federation of International Basketball rulebook before stepping on the sidelines.
Had he done that, he’s confident he wouldn’t have been thrown out of K-State’s final game midway through the fourth quarter.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know you could get tossed in FIBA,” Weber said. “It used to be you couldn’t.”
When Weber cast aside his normal mild-mannered demeanor to dispute foul calls with officials, he was slapped with two technical fouls. The first came in the first quarter when he complained about a series of quick fouls and a goaltending. The second came in the fourth quarter when he raised his voice following a hard foul.
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Several K-State players had fouled out by then, and Weber switched to a zone defense in hopes of avoiding future fouls. Still, both teams combined to shoot 78 free throws.
In past foreign trips with other teams, Weber said he walked out to midcourt to speak with officials and was never penalized. But the officials in Brazil weren’t as tolerant.
“I said, ‘I just want a fair game. We’ve come this far, we just want to play basketball. We can’t have everyone foul out … We can’t have anyone hurt,’ ” Weber said. “The guy gave me a (technical) but it is what it is. I was just happy our kids finished the game and gave us a chance to win.”
The Wildcats responded well to Weber’s ejection, and took the lead heading into the final moments. But K-State ultimately lost the game when Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling were unable to hit outside shots on the final possession.
Weber watched it all from the stands with no regrets. He had stood up for his players. If that meant he couldn’t coach the final few moments, so be it. Even though he said it was the first time he had ever been ejected from a game, he thought his actions were within the rules.
“I just said, ‘I want fair,’ ” Weber said. “I didn’t go nuts or go crazy or anything.”
The loss gave K-State a 2-2 record in Brazil. It lost its first game, then won the next two.
Sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez led all scorers with 10.3 points per game, while Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder and Nino Williams all averaged more than nine points per game.
Weber said he was impressed with the way Rodriguez led the offense as a point guard, and how hard Diaz worked to score near the basket. He also complimented Williams and freshman D.J. Johnson.
On the negative side, Weber said K-State’s inside players struggled to adapt to the international style of play and needed to be in better shape to get up and down the court with a 24-second shot clock. He also said passing and ball-handling will be a point of emphasis moving forward.
The trip gave him a lot to think about heading into preseason practices.
“Overall, I thought It was a good trip,” Weber said. “I learned a lot about the guys.”