Michigan’s Howard hits Wisconsin assistant after Badgers win

Howard said he reacted after someone from Wisconsin put hands on him.

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Michigan coach Juwan Howard became upset after Wisconsin called a timeout in the closing seconds of a game the Badgers already had put out of reach.

The way Howard responded could have major ramifications on the rest of Michigan’s season.

Howard hit Wisconsin assistant Jon Krabbenhoft after arguing with Wisconsin coach Greg Gard during the handshake line following the Badgers’ 77-63 victory on Sunday. The Big Ten said it planned to “take swift and appropriate disciplinary action when it completes its review.”

During his postgame news conference, Howard said 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.

After the game, Howard pointed a finger at Gard. Later on, Howard reached through a crowd to get to Krabbenhoft, and players from each side got involved in the skirmish. Video appeared to show Michigan’s Moussa Diabate and Wisconsin’s Jahcobi Neath throwing punches.

Replays showed Howard no longer had a closed fist and had his hand open by the time he hit Krabbenhoft on the left side of his head.

Howard said he reacted after someone from Wisconsin put hands on him. Video showed Gard had his hands touching Howard’s arm or wrist area while trying to explain the reason for the timeout.

“I addressed with the head coach that I will remember that, because of the timeout,” 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.”

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 77-63. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said he already had contacted Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren about the situation, adding that Wisconsin had staff members who were “affected and injured.”

“There’s no room, no space for conduct like that in any competition, much less a Big Ten competition,” McIntosh said. “The Big Ten takes pride in sportsmanship. The Big Ten takes pride in acting with class. That didn’t happen today.”

The Big Ten issued a statement saying it’s “aware of a physical altercation involving Michigan head coach Juwan Howard” and that it’s assessing the incident. Howard said he’d respect whatever decision the Big Ten makes.

A message was left seeking comment from Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.

This isn’t Howard’s first high-profile incident with another Big Ten coach.

Last season, Howard got into a shouting match with then-Maryland coach Mark Turgeon during the conference tournament. Howard had to be restrained. He drew two technical fouls and was ejected from a game Michigan ended up winning 79-66.

Gard said he called the timeout because his reserves were in the game and only had four seconds to get the ball past midcourt. 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.

Wahl said nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the game that could have foretold what would happen afterward.

“I would say it was just a good 40-minute basketball game — physical game, Big Ten basketball,” Wahl said.

That all changed in the postgame handshake line.

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