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Thursday, January 24
Updated: January 25, 5:35 AM ET
Sidney says game changed when he fouled out

By Andy Katz

BOSTON -- Boston College sophomore guard Ryan Sidney said official Tim Higgins cursed at him after he confronted the referee concerning a turnover in the first half of the Eagles' 88-78 loss to No. 1-ranked Duke on Thursday night in Conte Forum.

Ryan Sidney
Boston College guard Ryan Sidney reacts to fouling out late in the second half against Duke.

Sidney stepped out of bounds in the corner of the court, opposite of the Duke bench while chasing a loose ball. Sidney made a face at Higgins in disgust of the call and appeared to make a comment before Higgins responded.

"He said, 'Shut the (expletive) up and run down the floor,"' Sidney said. "I was like, 'What's this about.' I thought you were refing the game. You're not refing the game, you're refing people."

Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakian saw Higgins' response courtside, but couldn't confirm Higgins used a swear word in the middle of his response. ESPN cameras caught only the beginning of the confrontation between Sidney and Higgins. The cameras cut away before the lips of both people involved could be read.

Higgins and fellow officials Ted Valentine and John Clougherty left Conte Forum before they could be approached for comment, but Boston College officials said Big East policy is for the officials not to comment on anything to do with the game. The matter could be discussed with Big East supervisor of officials Art Hyland, possibly Friday.

"Higgins went out of his way to speak to me and then curses at me?" Sidney said. "I don't pull punches like that. I tried to stay out of their way because I knew this was a game refs could change, make or destroy."

Sidney was in foul trouble throughout the game and fouled out with 3:43 remaining with the Eagles trailing by 11. Sidney was called for his fifth foul when he bumped Duke's Jason Williams atop the 3-point circle, a call Sidney questioned. Sidney then walked to the other end of the court, kneeled down and covered his face with his jersey. Clougherty then bent down, helped Sidney up and got in his ear.

Sidney said Clougherty told him, "If you don't get your ass up, I'm going to give you a technical.' I said 'you fouled me out of the game. You're the one that made the (expletive) call, not me.'"

Sidney said the game changed when he fouled out because he said he and the team were on a roll. He scored eight of his 10 points in the second half.

"I'm not going to go out there and bad-mouth nobody, so don't bad-mouth me," Sidney said. "Everybody who was sitting there saw what happened. There is no call for that. You know there is no call for that."

Andy Katz is a senior writer at

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