By Pat Harty
INDIANAPOLIS – Iowa senior guard Connor McCaffery had to watch from his team’s locker room as the Hawkeyes finished the job against Rutgers on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The son of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery had been ejected late in the second half of Iowa’s 84-74 victory after having picked up two technical fouls.
Both of his technical fouls came as a result of having words with Rutgers guards Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy in a game that had become highly emotional.
However, Connor McCaffery said his first technical came when he and McConnell were simply having a discussion on the court that Connor McCaffery described as being civil.
“First of all, I understand why they did, but I would say that both of them were pretty soft,” Connor McCaffery said. “But I think just because the game was getting chippy, they wanted to have quick triggers to make sure nothing escalated.
“So, I regret getting into it at all. But the first one, me and McConnell were literally just talking to each other. We weren’t talking trash and we weren’t saying any swear words.”
Connor McCaffery said the circumstances surrounding his second technical foul were different as he made contact with Mulcahy, who according to Connor McCaffery, had accused him of being a dirty player earlier in the game.
“The second one I maybe deserved a little bit more because we bumped each other,” Connor McCaffery said. “But he has pissed me off because he was talking earlier in the game and was yelling at the ref that he’s a dirty player.”
Connor McCaffery also accused Mulcahy of trying trip Iowa forward Kris Murray in the first half and of diving at Kris Murray’s legs later in the game.
“I do regret getting into at all,” Connor McCaffery said. “Obviously, I wanted to stay in there and celebrate. I just think they wanted to keep it from getting out of hand, which is what they did.
“It wasn’t just me. They threw their strength coach out. I had never seen that in my life.”
Connor McCaffery was referring to Rutgers strength coach Dave van Dyke who was also ejected in the second half after reportedly saying something to the officials.
Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell was asked about van Dyke’s ejection in his post-game press conference.
“I don’t know, I’ll have to find that out,” Pikiell said. “I mean, a lot of stuff going on right now. There were a zillion technicals. It’s on me. So we’ve got to do a better job. That’s on me. I have no idea. I’ll figure that out after, we’ll sift through it, I’ll talk to some people.”