Pregame Dunk Almost Costs Kent State Victory

Eric Gaines didn't have a huge impact in Furman's win over Kent State, but his pregame dunk cost his team a technical free throw. (Image via

I was going to ramble verbosely on Kent State piddling away a 10-point lead with 3:33 left against the Furman Paladins, only to bounce back and win 78-74 in overtime. I'd mention how the Paladins finished with a furious 12-2 run, capped off by a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, to bring in an overtime frame. And then I'd laud KSU for pulling away and draining 15 points in a five-minute frame after scoring just as much in the final 10 minutes. And so forth.

Nah. Let's do this instead. Let's focus on freshman guard Eric Gaines. Sure, he only scored one point in 12 minutes of play. What on earth could he possibly have done to alter this game?

He dunked the ball during pre-game warmups. [gasp]

That's a technical foul by the NCAA's standards. Here's their basketball rules PDF. Furman made one of two free throws to start the game, and while each of their 65 regulation points are to blame for matching Kent State's total through 40 minutes, Gaines' no-no dunk was the most avoidable.

They know the rules, even if they're a little ridiculous; you probably notice that when collegiate players warm up, they never dunk, but sometimes gently drop the ball inward.

That PDF is really something, however. Look at the other infractions explicitly listed as technical fouls on pages 135-140 of the PDF:

• Possessing tobacco
• Climbing on an opponent's shoulders to block a shot
• Goaltending a free throw
• Communicating to and from the bench using electronic equipment
• Using a laser pointer

That last one slays me. Must've been included in the Great 1990s Laser Pointer Scare. I'm trying to picture that conversation in when the rules committee put this stuff together:

"Hey, what about laser pointers?"
"What about them, Steve?"

It's a rule that borders between goofy and stupid, but it sure is a rule. It's also a T if a player leaves the bench. There are exceptions, of course, including "to spontaneously react to an outstanding play, [then] immediately sitting down on the bench afterwards."

Gaines, meanwhile, isn't really doing his team any favors at all. He was one of three players to be cited for disorderly conduct a few days ago during an apartment fight. But he still got in the Furman game.

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