Chambers Blasts B1G Refs After Questionable Late-Game Fouls

Following another disappointing loss, frustration reached a boiling point for the Penn State men’s basketball team. But it came from a source you might least expect: head coach Patrick Chambers.

Always full of energy on the sidelines, Chambers is known to make his voice heard and his presence felt both on and off the court. However, his enthusiasm would get the best of him on Wednesday night, as the frustration from a slew of non-shooting foul calls against Penn State would lead to a crucial technical foul for arguing with officials during a TV timeout late in his team’s 66-60 loss at Michigan State. MSU’s Denzel Valentine would hit one of two technical shots, sparking a 6-0 that swung momentum back in Sparty’s favor.

“At some point, this thing’s got to stop, it’s got to switch, I’m not a Hall of Fame coach,” Chambers said, according to, referencing the officiating after the game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. “Nothing against Tom (Izzo), nothing against John Beilein, nothing against all these other guys, but it’s got to stop.”

Prompting Chambers outburst was a puzzling sequence that saw Penn State called for three straight fouls during one Spartans possession, evening the fouls in the second half at seven apiece. Despite being a firm believer in playing hard to take the refs out of the game and claiming he could “count on one hand” the number of times he’s called the Big Ten about its officials, Chambers said this was the first year he sent in film to the league office for evaluation.

“It’s probably four years of frustration,” Chambers said, according to The Detroit Free Press. “Our kids compete. They play hard, they try. Let us decide the game. There were three straight calls against us that were not called all game. I never want to say it’s the refs because they’re good guys and they try their best. But I just think people look at Penn State very differently. And I’m a little tired of it. And I didn’t think it warranted a tech, but it’s his discretion, that’s fine. I hurt my team tonight. I can’t do that.”

And before you start thinking this was simply a frustrated coach that’s looking for excuses to explain his team’s putrid start in conference play, Michigan State’s head coach and Spartans media members also chimed in. Tom Izzo, when asked about the officiating controversy, said the conference is struggling with new officials and officials that are working more conferences than they did in the past.

“These games are hard to officiate,” Izzo said. “I think every coach is complaining now because the consistency of officiating is difficult. We have guys working a lot of days and we have guys working so many more leagues.”

As far as the media, here’s what the Spartan beat writers had to say on Twitter. (H/T @SamDCooper)

In addtion, there’s this curious tweet by assistant coach Dwayne Anderson. The tweet in question was deleted, but preserved in a screen shot by, once again, Onward State alumnus Sam Cooper. The first-year coach and Villanova grad sent another tweet saying the previous remark was the first text he received after the game.


Granted, there are myriad reasons why Penn State faltered down the stretch — conveniently explained in our recap here — including a 13-of-22 performance from the foul line, so the referees, as questionable as they were, should not take the full blame for the loss. And despite the controversy, Penn State held its own against a solid, albeit slumping, Michigan State team on the road, with 27 points from D.J. Newbill and key contributions from newcomer Devin Foster off the bench.

“If we play like that the next 12 games, this thing’s gonna switch,” Chambers said. “It’s gonna flip, and people are gonna be scared to play Penn State.”

For our sanity’s sake, let’s sure hope so. The Nittany Lions will seek their first Big Ten win with a home matchup this Saturday against Rutgers at noon.

Photo: Bobby Chen/Onward State

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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