Bryant coach tears up Jim Boeheim over COVID-19 planning complaint


Syracuse barely survived an upset loss to Bryant on Friday night in a game coach Jim Boeheim said he should never have played, prompting a strong reaction from his counterpart Jared Grasso.Syracuse had to stop basketball activities after Boeheim, 76, contracted the novel coronavirus two weeks ago, and the rust showed.

“You can’t play basketball when you’re not training,” Boeheim said after the Orange held on for an 85-84 win over the Bulldogs at Carrier Dome in the season opener for the two teams. “It’s a fundamental thing that everyone knows. We were playing really well two weeks ago. Continue for 14 days, players have kept themselves in shape. We practiced yesterday and some guys were dying. Then we get into a game against a very good team, a smart team, a well-trained team, we couldn’t run, we couldn’t shoot…

“But it’s my fault. We should never have played this game. We should have come back, trained, played next week. Bryant couldn’t really postpone it. So 100% my fault.

Grasso, who is in his third season as Bryant’s head coach, tore up Boeheim’s remarks after his team’s upset big offer failed, saying his school gave them multiple opportunities to cancel the game.

“Am I supposed to give an honest reaction?” Grasso said the Journal of Providence. “Let me give an honest reaction – we gave them five chances to call the game. They wanted to play it. We have asked to move the date five times. We felt the same. They were coming out of quarantine. They asked to play it. They wanted to play us. We should have beaten them for them. If this is to be their excuse, so be it. Now I got angry because we had this conversation with them a dozen times about moving the date.

Grasso, 40 – who was 1-22 in his only season as Fordham’s head coach in the 2009-10 season – said he knew he was ” person ”and that he might get a blow for criticizing a Hall of Fame coach, but reiterated that his side of the story is the truth.

“They decided not to move it,” Grasso said. “But the reality is we tried to change the date and give them the option to change the date. They decided not to do it. Is that the reason why we should have beaten them? If they want to use that as an excuse, they can do it. But we came here and we should have beaten Syracuse in Syracuse. It’s hard for me not to be frank. I apologize. I would have liked to cancel the game if I was in their shoes. They didn’t want to cancel the game. They made this decision. We came here to play and we came here to win and we deserved to win. We haven’t made enough games for.

“It’s a very good team. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. I have nothing but respect for him. But for them to say that they wanted to cancel the game is just plain wrong. ”

It is possible that Grasso, whose team has just suffered a bitter loss, misinterpreted the comments when they came to him. Boeheim was blamed for playing the game, but may have been unsuccessful when he said, “Bryant couldn’t really reprogram him.”

Either way, Boeheim can thank his son Buddy and Marek Dolezaj for the fact that Syracuse didn’t suffer an embarrassing opening loss.

Boeheim had four 3 points and finished with 23 points and Dolezaj had 20 points – including two free throws with 22 seconds left – as Syracuse recovered from a 13 point deficit in the second half to claim the victory.

– with AP


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