Gonzaga-Pittsburgh game in Japan canceled due to slippery floor

For the third time in three years, college basketball has had a game end prematurely due to slippery conditions on the court.

But unlike previous cancellations, this game wasn’t played outdoors or on a United States Naval ship.

The Armed Forces Classic tilt between Gonzaga and Pittsburgh — perhaps the most anticpated game of college hoops’ opening night — was held under a roof in Japan, at the United States Marine Corps’ Camp Foster in Okinawa.

After a first half that featured a number of scary slips, spills and banged-up faces that hit the deck, the officials and coaches convended and decided to call it before the second half began.

“Unfortunately it’s just the conditions,” lead official Darron George said on ESPN. “On this floor, the players can’t stop, we can’t stop, it’s a terribly unsafe situation. For their safety, it’s our discretion, and being out on this floor I can tell you it’s too unsafe, so we made the decision to call the game. With the input of the coaches and the tournament guys.”

At the time of the called game, Pittsburgh led 37-35, but because the game was called before it ended, there is no winner or loser. It’s a worthwhile trip for both teams to get to experience so much military interaction, but in terms of the game, it’s a wasted trip and one the teams won’t get back.

How bad was it? Take a look at these two videos.

After the game was called, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and Gonzaga coach Mark Few spoke to the Marines in attendance.

“We’re sorry,” Few told the crowd. “We wished we could’ve finished this game; it’s what we wanted to do, just in a small token for you guys. I just want you to know, in this short time we’ve been here, the impact you’ve had on myself, my staff, my players, it’s something we’ll cherish for a lifetime. I talk to my guys about being tough. There’s nobody more tougher in the world than you Marines.”

The teams will travel back to the United States this weekend. Pitt’s next game, now its first Division I result on the schedule, is next Friday at home vs. Detroit. Gonzaga will play at home against Northern Arizona on Wednesday.

Mark Few’s Gonzaga team trailed 37-35 at the time of the game’s cancellation. (USATSI)


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