Mike Brey spoke with the Big East coordinator of officials late Tuesday night in an attempt to plead freshman Cam Biedscheid’s case. But when the Irish visit Louisville Saturday afternoon in the KFC Yum! Center, Biedscheid will be in the building but not in uniform.
Biedscheid exchanged blows with St. John’s sophomore Sir’Dominic Pointer with 1:46 remaining in Tuesday night’s 66-40 victory over the Red Storm. Both players were ejected, and by rule, both must sit out the next game.
“I talked to Art Hyland last night,” said Brey at his regularly-scheduled Wednesday press gathering. “There’s no way you can un-ring the bell when it’s deemed a fight, and there’s no appeal process. It’s disappointing.”
Pointer, who argued with officials over a foul call in the first half, also was assessed a “Flagrant 1” foul for a slap to the side of the head of Notre Dame’s Tom Knight with 5:05 remaining.
“One of the things I said to Art was, ‘Do you really think the penalty is fair compared to the other young man and the escalation?’” Brey said. “(But) there’s really no answer to that. Once it’s deemed a fight, which it was (because Biedscheid) was throwing punches, it is what it is.”
There’s little at stake for the Red Storm Saturday when they host Marquette to wrap up the Big East regular season. The 16-13, 8-9 St. John’s squad has little chance of making the NCAA tournament and almost assuredly will be heading to the NIT, regardless of the outcome Saturday or in the Big East tournament.
For Notre Dame, however, the loss of one of the first three players off the bench is significant. Biedscheid’s absence likely will force guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant to play all 40 minutes against the Cardinals, and if Saturday’s clash is like five of the last six and six of the last eight games between the Big East rivals, there will be overtime periods for which to account.
Biedscheid averages 18.1 minutes per game and generally is the complement to sophomore Pat Connaughton at the three position when he’s not rotating into the backcourt with Atkins and Grant.
Plus, Saturday’s game is big for the Irish, who could gain a double-bye in the Big East tournament with a victory over Louisville and a Syracuse loss at first-place Georgetown.
The only solace for Biedscheid is that he’ll be able to accompany his team to Louisville when it leaves Friday.
“He’ll travel with us,” Brey said. “He’ll be in the shootaround Saturday morning in the Yum Center. He cannot sit on the bench. He’ll sit in the stands with some of the players’ families.”
Brey, always one to find a silver lining, hopes Biedscheid can turn a negative into a positive.
“I’m hoping it jumpstarts him to get on a roll for us,” said Brey of Biedscheid, who is averaging 6.8 points per game while ranking fourth on the team in three-pointers with 35. “Maybe it gets his juices flowing even better when he comes back to us for the Big East tournament.”
Brey said freshman Austin Burgett could see some action at the three position in Biedscheid’s absence.