Buccilla angry after Adams injured in TU loss

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Tiffin's Austin Adams draws heavy contact from Lake Superior State’s Carson Manger (50) and Blake Marquardt on a drive to the hole Saturday at Gillmor Center. Later, Adams was injured and left the game.

Jerry Buccilla screamed foul.

Actually, he wanted more than that.

Saturday against Lake Superior State, Tiffin University — and forward Austin Adams — were off to a solid start. The Dragons were up 28-17, and Adams was rolling. With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Adams had 11 points and four rebounds.

Moments later, he was out of the game.

Adams was playing just outside the restricted area in the lane when he took an elbow to the head from Lake Superior State’s Josh Goldschmidt.

Adams went down and left the game. He didn’t return, after what Buccilla called “concussion symptoms.”

In an interview minutes after the Dragons’ 80-76 loss, Buccilla said he didn’t think the shot was dirty or intentional. But after seeing film of the play, the coach was furious.

“That should never be allowed in the game of basketball,” Buccilla said in an interview later in the day. “That’s a flagrant 2 foul, it looked to me like there was intent … they took him out.”

When informed of Buccilla’s comments, Lake Superior State coach Steve Hettinga was adamant the shot was inadvertent, saying Goldschmidt would never attempt to hurt someone.

Buccilla disagreed.

“If you saw it on film, it was purposefully done,” he said. “That should never be in the game of basketball.”

Buccilla said Goldschmidt should have been ejected.

“I think something that way, I’m not certain the coach shouldn’t take ownership of it,” he said.

Adams’ absence certainly was felt in the game. The Lakers hit 13 3-pointers, and bench player Malek Adams went off. He had 28 points, six rebounds and three assists.

He also all but clinched the game for the Lakers.

With 22.2 seconds remaining in regulation and Lake Superior State leading 77-74, Alex Brown had the ball and was dribbling toward the right side. He tried to find Tristan Popa with a pass, but the ball was stolen by Adams, who was immediately fouled.

“Huge as they come,” Hettinga said of the play.

Adams then made a pair of free throws, giving the Lakers a five-point lead with 15 seconds left. TU’s Justin Miller scored a quick layup to make it 79-76, but Lake Superior State’s Lance Monroe split a pair of free throws with eight seconds left, effectively ending the game.

“I thought we played hard, I thought we played pretty well together,” Buccilla said. “Lake Superior State’s a good team, a good record. But I felt we played well enough to win this game.”

It certainly looked that way early.

After spotting the Lakers six points, the Dragons went on a 13-0 run, punctuated by a Terrell Mabins jumper. The first half lead would get as large as 14 — 31-17 — when Mabins drilled a 3 with 7:25 left.

But the Lakers responded. They closed the half with a 5-0 run, and went to the break trailing 41-33.

“I think we kept coming at them,” Hettinga said. “Malek Adams certainly was a huge key in that game with our guys, and different guys (stepped up) for us. Our bench was huge.”

The turning point in the second half may have been about five minutes in, with the Dragons leading 51-41. After Goldschmidt missed a 3, a foul was called on the Lakers’ Michael Nicholson. But then the official called a double technical on Nicholson and Tiffin’s Quentin Jones. Then, moments later, Mabins was called for a technical. Lake Superior State’s Tim Cairnduff split the two free throws, but the episode appeared to spark the Lakers.

“I thought that had some momentum switch, and it allowed them to get confidence,” Buccilla said. “But we still had a number of opportunities all the way to the end.”

A 21-5 run Laker followed. The Dragons never led again.

Lake Superior State got 12 points each from Blake Maquardt and Goldschmidt. They improved to 18-6, 12-4 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Dragons (7-17, 3-13) got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Brown, and 13 points and seven rebounds from Miller.