There are goats. And then there are goats. Get a load of what Saint Joseph's junior forward Halil Kanacevic did during last night's loss to Philly rival Villanova. He shit the bed during the game's final two minutes, but he also made it easy for everyone to dog him for it because he had given the Villanova student section the bird earlier in the game. That's great hustle.
There are times when it is tough to put your finger on the turning point of a particular game. But when Hawks junior forward Halil Kanacevic celebrated his only made basket of the night—a go-ahead, 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in regulation—with an extended middle finger salute to the Villanova student section behind the basket, you could feel the entire energy level of the Pavilion get thrust into overdrive.
Officials didn't see it and later told [Villanova coach Jay] Wright that they couldn't do anything about it because no physical contact was made. But suddenly, a disinterested crowd had a pretty good buzz to it every time Kanacevic touched the basketball.
Other reports have indicated that Kanacevic raised two middle fingers. The AP photo you see above managed to capture him unfurling one of them. Whatevs. We had us a ballgame. Never mind that Kanacevic's only field goal of the game would come on that one lone basket. Saint Joe's led by five with 2:13 to play. That's when Kanacevic really went to work. Behold this, from the Philadelphia Daily News:
Kanacevic fouled [James] Bell 25 feet from the basket. Bell calmly made a pair. Kanacevic threw a backdoor pass to Galloway into a very tight window. Bell stole it. After a Daniel Ochefu follow basket, Kanacevic was fouled with 45.8 seconds left. Shooting into that student section, now completely crazed, he missed a pair.
Bell hit a three from the left corner. After an ugly SJU possession, the Hawks ended up with the ball on the sideline in the deep right corner with 3 seconds left, trailing by two points, without a timeout. Nobody was open. Kanacevic, fearful of a 5-second call, threw it off Mo Sutton. The ball caromed over the sideline, hitting Kanacevic. Turnover. Bell two free throws. Game over.
For those keeping score, that's a stupid foul, an errant pass, two missed free throws, and a botched inbounds pass. A clutch performance that came with its own salute.
Update (6:32 p.m.): Saint Joe's has slapped Kanacevic with a two-game suspension.