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Monday, October 20, 2014
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After ejection, Haith pulls team in second Europe tour exhibition

One night after routing the first opponent of its five-game Europe tour by 23 points, the Missouri basketball team played its second and never finished.

After topping the Dutch team Rotterdam 87-64 the previous night, Frank Haith and the Tigers met the Netherlands National B Team in Amsterdam on Saturday and led by 25 at the half. According to a news release, Haith “(questioned) a non-call on an elbow to the head of freshman forward Stefan Jankovic” mid-way through the third quarter.

Haith was then ejected from the game. He pulled his team, forfeiting the match.

"In my mind I was just fearful for the safety of our players, but in retrospect I wish I had let our team play it out and learn from the adversity," Haith said in the release. "I take complete responsibility. This is a learning experience for us all."

In the release, Haith went on to speak highly of the Netherlands squad and also suggested he acted out in the heat of the moment.

“This in no way reflects how the Dutch team played tonight," Haith said in the release. "They are a great team and for us to be up 25 at the half, we were obviously playing well. I had a split second to make a decision and I chose to err on the side of caution."

Junior forward Earnest Ross, the Auburn transfer who posted 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and 20 minutes in the win over Rotterdam, said he understood his coach’s decision.

"We are competitors, we want to play, but when we saw the look in coach Haith's eyes we knew he had our backs," Ross said in the release. "We are a family and it feels great knowing your head coach will step out there for you like this."

In the release, event organizer Dutch National Team Manager Matthijs Groots considered the ejection “strange.”

“It so suddenly came out of the blue," he said in the release. "There were inconsistent calls on both sides including a technical foul on the Dutch, so our staff could understand that the game was stopped. It was just a pity it got to that point."

The Tigers are getting the chance to examine their new-look roster during the trip, granted by the NCAA rule that allows Division I programs to go on foreign tours once every four years.

Along with Ross, senior guard Keion Bell (from Pepperdine), senior forward Alex Oriakhi (from Connecticut), sophomore guard Jabari Brown (from Oregon) and junior forward Tony Criswell (from Independence Community College) are making their MU debuts.

The team has three exhibitions remaining overseas. On Monday, two will be played in Belgium against Waragem.

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