SportsPulse: The Zion vs. Tacko duel lived up to the hype in the most exciting game of the tournament. USA TODAY’s Scott Gleeson breaks down how Duke was able to avoid a historic upset.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — UC Irvine basketball coach Russell Turner said he and his players baited Oregon forward Louis King by calling him “Queen” during UC Irvine’s 73-54 loss to Oregon on Sunday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Turner lingered in the postgame handshake when he reached King, a 6-foot-9 freshman, later explained to reporters what happened.
“Yeah, I’ll tell you,” Turner said during a postgame press conference. “I was saying Double Team Queen to try to see if I could irritate him. And I did. And I kept talking to my team about what we wanted to do.
“We were calling him ‘Queen’ because I knew it might irritate him, because of how important he is to their team, the queen in chess. It was a play on his name of King.
“And it bothered him, started thinking about me, started thinking about Max (Hazzard, one UC Irvine’s starting guards). But he came back and finished the game really strong. And he’d had a thing or two to say to me during the game, and I wanted to let him know that what I’d done was out of respect.”
King, who finished with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting and had four rebounds, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Greg Walker, Oregon’s Associate Director of Athletic Communications, said King and the other members of Oregon’s basketball team were about to board its flight back to Eugene, Ore., when USA TODAY Sports requested a comment from King and Oregon coach Dana Altman.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Josh Peter on Twitter @joshlpeter11.