Hey there Cougar Nation. I just got home from a rather ugly game where the Cougar defense led the way in a 55-33 victory over FDU.
Rather than write a traditional recap, I scored an interview with the three stars of the game. Of course, I'm talking about referees Lars Jurgenson, Joerg Johannson and Smiffy Whitehorse. And yes, I made those names up because I don't want to waste time with tracking down the real ones. But rest assured - they played a key role in a losing effort for Fairleigh Dickinson.
CougCenter: When you're officiating a game horribly, how important is it to come out and set the tone early?
Lars Jurgenson: It's key. When we called only two team fouls on FDU in the first half, we wanted to send the message that we were going to phone in this entire game. Some bad officials give in to the home crowd; others play reverse psychology by officiating against the home team when they get riled up against you. That's what we did tonight, and the anger of the fans really kept us motivated.
Joerg Johannson: My ego is more important than officiating a fair game. So when Cameron Tyler did everything but claw Taylor Rochestie's eyes out on the last possession of the first half, I was pretty amped. Bad officiating means pocketing the whistle, even when it means risking injuries on either side of the ball.
CC: Super. You certainly lost control at the end of the game as well, when you let FDU foul WSU away from the ball in the full court press, leading to turnovers and bad blood that ultimately materialized when 5'10" Ronald Brown attempted to dunk on Charlie Enquist with 1 second left.
Smiffy Whitehorse: You betcha. The WWE is a multi-billion dollar business. People love drama. My favorite show, for example, is "Gossip Girl" on the C-dub. That's why when I officiate a game I like to let things get as chippy as possible. Letting Ronald Brown throw his body around like a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat was just one of the many things that I believe helped make this game entertaining.
CC: Of course, you don't want to be too obvious. Tim Donaghy is in prison, after all. You made a brilliant move when you awarded FDU a timeout when they didn't have the ball, then charged them with a technical foul.
JJ: Things like that are why I got into the reffing biz. That and, of course, the beautiful women and fast cars.
CC: Talk a bit about our CougCenter player of the game, Nikola Koprivica.
LJ: Sure thing. He was four of six from the field, two of four from three, played solid defense and added three steals with no turnovers. 10 points total and efficient doing it. I was hoping we'd rattle him along with the rest of the team, but that just didn't happen tonight. European players just know how to win us over.
CC: You also made an atrocious no-call on our CougCenter play of the game, a fast break dunk by Caleb Forrest over an FDU player, that really should have been an and-one.
SW: Even great plays aren't immune from bad officiating. We made it up to WSU by awarding a series of ticky-tack fouls in favor of Fairleigh Dickinson on the other end.
CC: Made it up to WSU? I'm confused.
JJ: We wanted to help the Cougars. Games with bad officiating build character. That's what this was all about.
LJ: We tried our hardest to frustrate the Cougars, as well as give the visiting Dick Bennett a heart attack in his seat near the WSU bench. It failed. The Cougars played great team defense tonight, and that's really what led them to this win. They also settled down and started making shots against FDU's zone defense in the second half (the first zone they've seen all year). Down the road they'll thank us for doing such a terrible job. WSU is a young team and they can't help but benefit by walking away from this game with a 22-point win.
CC: Well then... Thanks?
JJ: You're welcome.
CC: By the way, please don't show up at any of our home or away games for the remainder of the season.