Stanford's Johnson blames self for ejection from game against Marquette

Updated: March 22, 2008, 10:14 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Stanford coach Trent Johnson blamed himself for being ejected in the first half of the Cardinal's 82-81 overtime victory over Marquette in an NCAA tournament game on Saturday.

"Basically, I was out of line," said Johnson, who was tossed after getting two technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct. "The bottom line, I was trying to fight for my kids. There was no profanity or anything like that used, but I had been warned prior to that, and I put our team in a bad situation, and it's unacceptable.

"The bottom line was, the responsibility was on me, and I was out of line," Johnson said. "Just leave it at that if you would, please."

The officials had warned Stanford's bench to sit down earlier in the half.

Johnson drew the technicals in quick succession after officials called Stanford's Lawrence Hill for a foul on Marquette's Lazar Hayward with 3:36 remaining.

The first technical was assessed by David Hall as the teams went to a timeout. Johnson received the second technical, and the ejection, from Curtis Shaw when he walked toward the officials near the top of the key with his hands on his hips.

"Specifically, he was out on the playing floor and out of the coach's box disputing calls," a statement from the officiating crew said. "After Coach Johnson failed to comply with instructions to return to the Stanford bench, a second technical foul was assessed by Curtis Shaw, resulting in Coach Johnson's ejection from the game."

Coaches often take the floor during timeouts. But in a postgame interview, Shaw said Johnson had come onto the floor before timeout was called.

"A timeout doesn't begin until we report it," Shaw said. "We had never called a timeout.

"During a timeout, coaches are allowed to stay in the vicinity of their bench," Shaw said. "They are not allowed to walk out on the floor and continue to complain. He was warned in the first half visibly with a 'stop' signal. 'Trent, that's enough.' "

Johnson's immediate response to the ejection?

"I was shocked, believe me," he said.

Stanford assistant Doug Oliver put his hands to his head as Shaw tossed Johnson, who glared at the officials before walking past the Marquette bench and into a tunnel as Golden Eagles fans jeered.

Oliver, who was head coach at Idaho State for eight years, took over for Johnson. Stanford had received three technicals all season before Johnson's ejection.

Wesley Matthews hit all four free throws awarded for the technicals to give the Golden Eagles a 29-24 lead.

Marquette led 36-30 at halftime.

Johnson said he watched the rest of the game from Stanford's dressing room, and he addressed the team at halftime.

"There was nothing I could do," Johnson said. "The kids came in [at intermission], my responsibility was to make sure they're not out of control or lose their composure like I did."

Johnson said his ejection could have cost Stanford the game.

"No question, technical, six-point turnaround, no question," Johnson said.

Johnson was asked if he would ever get a technical in the tournament again.

"I don't think I'll ever get up in a tournament game again," Johnson said.

Later, Hall called offsetting technicals on Marquette's Lawrence Blackledge and Stanford's Robin Lopez after Blackledge fouled Lopez with 11:33 remaining in the game. Lopez, who picked up his third foul, made one of two free throws to extend Stanford's lead to 55-49.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press