Being a referee in the Continental Basketball Association can be as dangerous as shouting "Go Seminoles" at the University of Miami. Besides putting up with such original verbal taunts as "Hey ref, look at the game instead of the cheerleaders," "Hey ref, how much money you got on the game," and "Hey ref, when was the last time you worked, in the World Wrestling Federation," he has to deal with hyperactive players and antagonistic coaches, every one of them ready to curse the guy out if he makes a close or questionable call, or his vantage point isn't the same as everyone else's. Phil Jackson has thrown chairs at referees, Bill Musselman screamed at officials after games, Johnny Neumann and Charley Rosen cursed the officials almost every night. In 1982, Rochester Zeniths coach Mauro Panaggio chased down a ref after a game and started pounding on the ref's car, smashing a rear view mirror (Panaggio was suspended, of course).
Patroons coach George Karl may have topped them all. This night was the first Pats game without Vince Askew (still in limbo over his Italian contract) and Mario Elie (on a 10-day contract with the 76ers), forcing Karl to use his bench for quality men. And because Siena had to play a game at the Knick on the same night, Albany's game was moved up to a 5:00 p.m. start, hardly a businessman's special.
And when the Oklahoma City Cavalry came out strong and won the first quarter, it looked as if the visitors had found the Patroons' Achilles heel - wait until Askew and Elie weren't on the squad, and the wins would come fast and furious.
Except that Albany still had Clinton Smith (who picked up his second triple-double of the year) and Albert King (whose jam at the end of the first half put the Pats ahead to stay) and Jeff Fryer (the Loyola Marymount star who sank four three-pointers that night).
Now let's go to the fourth quarter. With three minutes left in the game and Oklahoma City behind by twenty points, the Cavalry's Alvin Heggs had the ball. With the speed of a charging bull, he moved the ball toward the basket. Albany's Ben McDonald stood in the paint for defense. Both men collided. And referee Monty McCutcheon blew his whistle, calling McDonald on a blocking foul and awarding Heggs two shots.
Karl quickly called a time out, then exchangd words with the referee. "He told me to turn around and shut up, and I snapped," Karl told the Gazette's Mike MacAdam. "Ben McDonald was playing perfect defense ... It's not fair to players who I'm demanding to play hard and they're not getting just calls."
Karl ran out to plead his case with the ref, earning himself a nice big technical. Not satisfied with that, Karl saw the ball on the ground. In an instant, while still arguing with the referee, Karl kicked the ball into the upper deck, 12 rows into the cheap seats.
That kick got a cheer from the crowd - and garnered Karl a second technical - and ejection from the game. Albany still went on to win the final quarter and the game, but Karl's kick was the talk of the evening. "It was a 46-yard field goal, right down the middle," said Oklahoma coach Charley Rosen to Tim Wilkin of the Times-Union. But it's very easy to kick indoors ... I want to see him do it with someone rushing him and a little wind."
Surprisingly, Karl received no suspension from the CBA for his Charlie Brown impersonation. The Patroons videotape all their games (tapes are made available to the visiting coaches and to the league office), but the cameras are turned off at time-outs. By the time the videographer began filming again, the Cavalry shot the technicals.
Or maybe Karl didn't receive a suspension because he kicked a basketball rather than kicking an official.
After an Albany practice the next day, Karl received an unexpected guest at the Patroons' front office - Albany Firebirds coach Rick Buffington, who himself has had run-ins with officials and referees, jokingly offered Karl a job as placekicker with the Firebirds.
Some say it's not too late to start a new career.
Williams 9-15 1-4 20, Weems 4-8 5-5 13, Sanderlin 1-2 2-2 4, Jeffries 3-4 2-3 8, Frederick 9-20 6-8 25, Heggs 3-8 2-2 8, Young 2-10 2-2 6, Jones 0-4 2-4 2, Simmons 3-5 0-1 6, O. Graham 5-8 1-3 11. Totals: 39-84 23-34 103.
Gondrezick 2-4 1-5 5, King 9-18 3-3 24, Springs 2-5 3-4 7, Fryer 7-10 2-2 20, Smith 6-14 6-8 18, Sanders 10-18 3-3 23, P. Graham 5-11 3-3 13, McDonald 2-7 4-4 8, McDuffie 3-4 0-0 6. Totals: 46-91 25-32 124.
OKLAHOMA CITY 36-17-22-28 103 1 ALBANY 24-39-32-29 124 6Three-point goals - Fryer 4, King 3, Williams, Frederick. Rebounds - Oklahoma City 45 (O. Graham 11), Albany 49 (Smith 12, Sanders 10). Assists: Oklahoma City 16 (Williams 5), Albany 28 (Smith 12). Total fouls: Oklahoma City 29, Albany 27. Technical fouls: Albany Coach Karl (unsportsmanlike conduct 2). Ejections: Albany Coach Karl, 2:37 of 4th. A - 2,654.
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