Monmouth junior guard George Papas enjoyed his best performance of the young college basketball season on Friday evening, scoring 12 points off the bench for the Hawks against the Kansas Jayhawks. However, Papas’ general performance wasn’t exactly the major story that emerged from Monmouth’s 112-57 loss at Allen Fieldhouse, with one particular play drawing national attention.
Papas stole the ball from Kansas freshman Tristan Enaruna with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game and dunked the ball at the other end while seemingly woofing about it. The issue was that, again, Monmouth lost the game by 55 points and the shot clock was off at the time of his steal-and-dunk sequence.
A) This is a super lame thing to do, but…
B) it’s hilarious and that takes precedence pic.twitter.com/FYb0KWCgMM
— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) November 16, 2019
As Matthew Tynan of The Athletic notes, this was pretty amusing given the circumstances and it changed nothing about the outcome, even in the betting world. Still, the takes came fast and furious, including from Papas’ own head coach, who wasn’t pleased at all.
“That is uncalled for,” Monmouth head coach King Rice said after the game, via Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star. “That is not what our program represents, and is not what our program stands for. You get beat by a better team, you shake their hand and you walk off to court and you take in the experience.”
This seems to be a bit too serious given the stakes but, to be fair, Rice is trying to send a message to his team in some way, shape or form. On the other side of the floor, Kansas head coach Bill Self wasn’t bothered by it. In fact, he used it as a chance to hammer something home to Enaruna.
Self said Monmouth steal/dunk at end "doesn't bother me at all … We've been on Tristan the whole time about being casual, and that's a prime example of what happens when you're casual. I told the team afterwards he may be on ESPN twice for two dunks: One on him and one he got."
— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) November 16, 2019
Monmouth will have another interesting test in their next game with a road tilt against an ACC team in Pittsburgh, while Kansas will square off against East Tennessee State. It is a safe bet to assume neither of those contests will have the same level of national attention as what Papas did on Friday but, in the end, the final play of a complete blowout attracted real attention for its weirdness.