CLEMSON, S.C. — Pitt head coach Jeff Capel is unhappy with the way his team has been officiated all season, and particularly what happened with star wing Justin Champagnie against Clemson on Saturday.
Champagnie, who entered Saturday’s season finale against the Tigers 0.2 points per game behind Duke’s Matthew Hurt for the ACC scoring lead, attempted 13 shots against Clemson, with 11 of them coming from inside the 3-point line, without drawing a single shooting foul. Champagnie averaged 5.3 free-throw attempts per game entering Saturday’s game.
“I don’t like the way he’s officiated, just to be completely honest with you,” Capel said after the game. “I’ve been around this league for a really, really long time as a player, and as a coach. When you’re a really good player, and one of the best players in the league, you usually, don’t go through a game where you play 30 minutes and don’t shoot a free throw, when you’re not just a jump shooter. That’s something that’s been really frustrating.”
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell pointed out that his team doesn’t foul much in general. The Tigers entered at No. 79 in the country in free throws attempts allowed. Champagnie also did not have an offensive rebound despite averaging 3.4 per game entering.
Regardless of why Champagnie’s opportunities were limited against the Tigers, one game in which his star player was limited in his opportunity to score points probably would not have been enough to set Capel off, but he sees a pattern of calls going against his team back several years now.
“There’s a double standard with us, and I’m tired of it,” Capel said, while acknowledging that doing so will likely earn him some attention from the league office. “I’ll get whatever will happen. Teams can talk to our bench, they can go crazy over a call, and nothing happens. But when we’ve done it, a little bit, there’s technical fouls.
“Really, for two years, it has been this way. But it’s really been this year, especially over the last month and a half. And it’s really frustrating, because I don’t know what to say to my team.”
Capel reference a series of technical fouls called against his team for reaction-type plays, whether it has been calling for an “and one” foul, slapping the backboard, or gesturing toward an opposing bench. Capel didn’t criticize the calls that went against his team, then or now, but feels that the standard has not been evenly applied.
“Other teams are able to be emotional and emote,” he said. “There was a call today, where (Clemson) didn’t think (it was a foul). They had a guy run off the court and things like that. And nothing’s called, but if we, yell ‘and one,’ not even the guy that got fouled, there’s a technical foul in a critical part of the game. And it’s not right. It’s not right.
“I know we have not been one of the better teams in this league since I’ve been here. Eventually, we will. That will happen. But it’s not right. What’s happening to us, it’s really, it’s really friggin’ frustrating.”
Capel said that he has contacted the ACC office with his concerns, but that “it doesn’t matter.”
“We have to figure out a way to continue to fight through and persevere,” he said. “Because look, those guys have a very hard job to do. They’re good guys. I like all of them. But man, it’s frustrating when you see some of the things and you guys follow so you see it, and I know you do. And it’s not right. It’s not right. So I know I’m wrong for what I’m saying. Because you can’t say anything. Can’t say anything. And again, I like all those guys. They’re really, really good guys. This is some bullshit.”