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Duke basketball coach Kara Lawson said that both her team and Florida State played with a men’s basketball in the first half of a game last weekend.
The No. 16 Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles on the road in Tallahassee on Sunday, 70–57, but Lawson waited until her press conference on Thursday to say that the program conducted an investigation and discovered that the teams were using a men’s ball during the first two quarters of the ACC tilt.
“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”
Lawson said that throughout the first half of the Florida State game that Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils went 7-for-34 (20.6%) from the field in the opening two quarters, while shooting 12-for-38 (31.6%) in the second half. Florida State connected on 10 of its 30 (33.3%) shots in the first half before going 14-for-31 (45.2%) in the final 20 minutes.
“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen,” she said. “It’s embarrassing for our sport.”
Lawson said in her press conference that the ACC denied that a men’s ball was used in the game. The conference then released a statement on Friday morning, disputing Lawson’s claim.
“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the ACC said in a release, per The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna. “Per the NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process… The conference office considers this matter to be closed and will have no further comment.”
Lawson said during her press conference Thursday that she hoped to appeal the game, but that the ACC denied her request.
“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us,” Lawson said. “They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that, either.”