EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Seton Hall basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez was suspended by the university for next season's first Big East Conference game for criticizing the officiating after a loss to Rutgers in the regular-season finale.
Athletic director Joe Quinlan called Gonzalez's conduct on March 9 ``unacceptable'' and ``not representative'' of Seton Hall sports. The school said he failed to comply with university and conference policies.
``The Big East provides the best roster of game officials for our students in the country,'' Quinlan added in statement Wednesday/ ``They represent the game and the conference with great integrity and dignity. We regret any embarrassment this episode may have brought to the Big East and our fellow institutions.''
Gonzalez wasn't immediately available for comment.
The fiery coach led the Pirates to a 17-15 mark in his second season at the South Orange school. Seton Hall lost in the first round of the conference tournament to No. 25 Marquette 67-54. The Pirates were 13-16 in Gonzalez's first season.
Seton Hall was offered an invitation to play in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational Tournament on Sunday, but the school turned it down.
``We just elected not to participate in that tournament,'' Quinlan said at the time. ``I think that we looked at all the variables and just decided we were not going to play.''
Whether Gonzalez's pending suspension played at part in that decision was not immediately clear on Wednesday.
Gonzalez, who seemingly has been at odds with Quinlan at times during his short tenure, got himself into trouble both during and after the Rutgers' game, which the Scarlet Knights won 64-61 on a last-second 3-pointer by JR Inman.
Gonzalez was called for a technical foul by official Wally Rutecki with 7:25 to play after jumping out of his seat to argue a traveling violation against senior Brian Laing with the Pirates down a point.
After the game ended, Gonzalez ran on the court to demand that Rutecki and fellow officials Jim Burr and John Cahill review Inman's game-winning shot to make sure it was before the buzzer.
A Seton Hall associate athletic director ran on the court to hold Gonzalez back.
The replay clearly showed the shot was good.
However, Gonzalez was still miffed at Rutecki after the game.
``I just thought there was a specific official that took over all the big calls,'' Gonzalez said. ``I thought there were veteran officials that are Final Four refs that are on the game, and those guys are as good as you get. ... And there was another person that, you know, quite honestly ... he gave a quick tech to me.''
Gonzalez also was angry that the officials did not call Rutgers coach Fred Hill for a technical for leaving the coach's box to complain about a call that went against the Scarlet Knights.
``If you're going to do that to me, if somebody jumps and runs out of the box and starts screaming and going berserk, then do that to them. What's fair is fair,'' Gonzalez said at the time.
Gonzalez and Hill also seemed to be at odds after the game, and their post-game meeting looked anything but friendly.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was critical of both coaches at the conference's awards dinner two days after the game.
``I'm embarrassed about what happened Sunday. I was embarrassed for our conference, our coaches and our schools. It's not going to happen again,'' he said.

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