Frank Haith ended an exhibition game early Saturday after a player took an elbow to the head (Getty Images)
Perhaps wary that his team's exhibition matchup with the Dutch U-24 national team could end the way Georgetown's game in China did last August, Missouri coach Frank Haith went to unusual lengths to avoid a brawl.
He pulled his team off the court midway through the third quarter Saturday night after referees ejected him for arguing a no-call on an elbow to the head of freshman forward Stefan Jankovic. Missouri held a comfortable lead at the time.
"In my mind I was just fearful for the safety of our players, but in retrospect I wish I had let our team play it out and learn from the adversity," Haith said in a release from the school. "I take complete responsibility. This is a learning experience for us all.
"This in no way reflects how the Dutch team played tonight. They are a great team and for us to be up 25 at the half, we were obviously playing well. I had a split second to make a decision and I chose to err on the side of caution."
It's hard to know whether Haith overreacted or not since video of the incident has yet to surface, but there are a couple of reasons to give the Missouri coach the benefit of the doubt.
Video of Georgetown's brawl with the Chinese military team instantly spread across the internet and became an embarrassing national news story for the university. Furthermore, the Dutch team's coach appears to back Haith's decision in his comment in Missouri's release on the game.
"It was strange what happened because it (ejection) so suddenly came out of the blue," Matthijs Groot said. "There were inconsistent calls on both sides including a technical foul on the Dutch, so our staff could understand that the game was stopped. It was just a pity it got to that point."
Missouri still has plenty of time to create some more positive memories from its European tour. The Tigers, who defeated Rotterdam 87-64 on Friday behind 17 points from Pepperdine transfer Keion Bell, continue their trip in Belgium on Monday.
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