ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard has been suspended for the final five games of the regular season after he struck a Wisconsin coach in the head following his team’s loss to the Badgers this weekend.
Michigan’s final five regular-season games remaining before the Big Ten Tournament are at home against Rutgers, Illinois, Michigan State and Iowa, and on the road at Ohio State. They still have plenty of work to do if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolverines will also be without starter Moussa Diabate and reserve Terrance Williams for the Rutgers game. Both were in the middle of the struggle that followed Howard’s first blow.
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was issued a $10,000 fine, and reserve Jahcobi Neath was suspended one game.
Near the end of Sunday’s 77-63 loss, Howard appeared to be unhappy that Gard called a timeout in the final minute of the game. Michigan’s bench players and starting point guard DeVante’ Jones were using a full-court press against the Badgers. Gard said he called a timeout to draw up a way to break the pressure.
Then, after the final buzzer, Howard appeared to hesitate before getting into the handshake line. He tried to pass Gard in the line without speaking to him, but Gard held Howard back, video shows.
Howard and Gard exchanged words, and the situation escalated. Howard can be seen on video reaching past Gard and hitting a Badgers’ assistant coach on the top of the head.
A fight broke out between Michigan and Wisconsin during the postgame handshake line. pic.twitter.com/AiWIwyzj8w— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 20, 2022
Hours after the game, the Big Ten released a statement saying it planned to “take swift and appropriate disciplinary action when it completes its review.”
During his postgame news conference, Howard confirmed he didn’t like Wisconsin calling for a timeout with 15 seconds left and the Badgers leading by 15.
“I thought it was not necessary at the moment, especially being a large lead,” Howard said. “Someone touched me, and I think it was very uncalled for, for them to touch me, as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another. That’s what escalated it.”
Gard said he called the timeout because his reserves were in the game and only had four seconds to get the ball past mid-court. A timeout gives them 10 seconds.
“I was not going to put them in position where the ball had already gotten knocked out of bounds, to have to break a press in four seconds,” Gard said.