It's the cardinal rule of college basketball:
If you're going to flip off an opposing student section, be sure to hit your free throws.
It's a rule St. Joseph's junior forward Halil Kanacevic learned the hard way Tuesday night.
Kanacevic, who had been struggling for the first 30 minutes of his team's 65-61 loss to Villanova, hit a three with 9:56 to play to put the Hawks up three, 50-47. Immediately thereafter, while jogging backwards down the floor on defense, he lifted his hands in the air to taunt the Villanova student section. The three would prove his only field goal of the night.
Later, with 45.8 seconds left and Saint Joseph's up, 61-60, Kanacevic rimmed two free throws, allowing the Wildcats' James Bell to go down the other end and knock down the game-winning three.
Just over 40 seconds later, with 3.5 to play, Kanacevic attempted to inbound the ball off Villanova's Maurice Sutton before he could be whistled for a five-second violation. Rather than getting another chance to pass it in, Kanacevic had the ball ricochet off Sutton and then off his own body, giving Villanova the basketball and the game.
These postgame quotes courtesy CSNPhilly's Matt Haughton:
"I did not [see it] (Kanacevic's hand gesture) ‘cause there was a timeout called and I saw people coming off the court. I didn’t see it," St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said.
"One of the things that we will mention to them is that on the road you
play to silence. That’s all you want. It certainly wasn’t a raucous
atmosphere up until that point, but I’ll look at it and see. I don’t
think it made us play faster or out of character. We just made some
out-of-character plays and plays that were home runs instead of singles.
"He (Kanacevic) seemed a little bothered during the game,” said Bell, who finished
tied with JayVaughn Pinkston for a team high with 12 points. “The ref
had came to him at the free throw line one time while he was shooting
and told him, ‘Don’t worry about the crowd. Don’t say nothing.’ He just
continued to let it get to him and he didn’t have the best attitude.”
Kanacevic finished with four points, four assists and a game-high five turnovers on 1 of 3 shooting from the floor and 1 of 4 shooting from the foul line.