In November 2011 ESPN reported that two former Syracuse ball boys accused then-assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually assaulting them, and the firestorm would eventually lead to Fine losing his job when a third accuser surfaced.
An investigation into the allegations led to no charges being filed against Fine. And just hours before the program takes the Verizon Center court it was reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard that former assistant Bernie Fine has filed the initial paperwork in a defamation suit against ESPN.
Fine is seeking unspecified damages from the network, and according to the Post-Standard neither his legal representation nor an ESPN spokesperson were willing to comment on the pending litigation.
However, ESPN spokesman David Scott did tell the newspaper that the network stood by its reporting of the allegations.
How much of a distraction will this be for Syracuse when they take on Indiana, and possibly for the remainder of the weekend should the Orange beat the Hoosiers? Not much, given how long Fine’s been away from the program.
While questions about the lawsuit could lead to an ornery head coach, don’t expect this to be something that distracts the Orange from the task at hand.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.