Chris Holtmann Says Three-Second Rule “Needs to Be Evaluated” After Matchup With Zach Edey and Purdue: “It’s Not a Rule That is Enforced”

By Griffin Strom on March 13, 2023 at 1:48 pm
Chris Holtmann
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Edey dominated Ohio State in Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal matchup.

But Chris Holtmann thinks the 32-point performance by the conference player of the year was aided by an oversight from the officiating crew. During his Monday radio show on 97.1 The Fan, the Buckeye head coach said the offensive three-second rule was clearly violated on a number of occasions without penalty from the officials in the Buckeyes’ 80-66 loss to Purdue in Chicago.

“Listen, I was on the officials the entire game. I really do think that needs to be evaluated whether or not you keep that rule in the rulebook. Because if it’s not gonna be enforced, why is it in fact in the rulebook?” Holtmann said. “And clearly, it’s not a rule that is enforced. He does a good job at times of dancing in and out, but more times than not, it’s clear. And listen, give them credit. They know it’s not going to get called. And if at the very most, it’s gonna get called once a game, at the very most. And most times it won’t.”

The Boilermakers’ 7-foot-4, 305-pound center hit 12 of his 25 shot attempts on the day, went to the free-throw line 11 times and also pulled down 14 boards. With Zed Key out for the season due to a shoulder injury, Felix Okpara was the lone true center Ohio State had to defend Edey, and the true freshmen fouled out near the end of the game after he logged 22 minutes of game action.

As a result, the Buckeyes were forced to throw 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-7 guards Isaac Likekele and Eugene Brown at Edey for long stretches at the United Center. And Holtmann said that task wasn’t made any easier by the officials.

“They have an advantage because of his size and mass and weight, and they say – it’s like teams that foul you for 40 minutes and they say, ‘They can’t call them all.’ Coaches will tell you that,” Holtmann said. “They can’t call all the fouls. Well, what they’re saying is, ‘Hey, they’re not gonna call it more than once at the most, so why wouldn’t we just park him there?’ It’s smart on their part. And what we’ve got to do is be able to adjust better, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Holtmann admitted that Edey “probably gets fouled on occasion and it’s not called,” and also credited the dominant big man as a “really good” player. Still, Holtmann said it’s clear that Purdue knows it can take advantage of the lack of three seconds calls from the officiating crew.

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