Haith pulls team after safety concerns

Courtesy Missouri Athletics

Amsterdam – Overseas exhibition games have been known to get chippy and after seeing a couple of elbows fly, words exchanged and a surprising ejection, Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith had seen enough.

The second year head coach at Missouri had just been ejected from the game for questioning a non-call on an elbow to the head of freshman forward Stefan Jankovic and pulled his team from the floor midway through the third quarter.

“In my mind I was just fearful for the safety of our players, but in retrospect I wish I had let our team play it out and learn from the adversity,” Haith said. “I take complete responsibility. This is a learning experience for us all.”

Despite the decision Haith had nothing but praise for the Netherlands National program.

“This in no way reflects how the Dutch team played tonight,” Haith said. “They are a great team and for us to be up 25 at the half, we were obviously playing well. I had a split second to make a decision and I chose to err on the side of caution.”

Even junior forward Earnest Ross understood the difficult decision.

“We are competitors, we want to play, but when we saw the look in Coach Haith’s eyes we knew he had our backs,” Ross said. “We are a family and it feels great knowing your head coach will step out there for you like this.”

Event organizer and Dutch National Team Manager Matthijs Groot understood Haith’s position.

“It was strange what happened because it (ejection) so suddenly came out of the blue,” Groot said. “There were inconsistent calls on both sides including a technical foul on the Dutch, so our staff could understand that the game was stopped. It was just a pity it got to that point.”

Missouri has three games remaining on the exhibition tour, including two games in Belgium starting on Monday against Waragem.