Below the Belt: USC Player Takes Cheap Shot at Blake Griffin

December 5th, 2008

The Story: USC's Leonard Washington hit Oklahoma Blake Griffin below the belt (video) in the second half of last night's game. Preseason All-American Griffin hit the floor immediately. It appeared as if Washington gave an elbow to the gut and/or a punch to the groin. The referees called a foul and reviewed the play. Upon review, Washington was assessed with a flagrant foul and was ejected from the game. Griffin, still shaken up, missed the two free throws and went to the bench to gain a second wind. USC seemed to gain momentum with Griffin on the bench however Oklahoma prevailed in the end 73-72. Griffin did score 11 points after the low blow and finished the game with 25 points on 8 for 12 shooting.


Ryter's Block: First Miami's Jack McClinton and now Leonard Washington. Although I don't think McClinton was trying to intentionally hurt Ohio State's Crater, Leonard Washington's incident seems to be different. Either Griffin should win an Academy Award or Washington gave him a pretty good shot...on purpose. The ball was coming up the court as the incident occurred and these two players weren't even near the action. The referees handled the situation well. They took proper action by ejecting him. He should be suspended for USC's next game. Unfortunately, the focus of this game has now turned to this, instead of what the game should have been focused on...a tribute to Wayman Tisdale. Tisdale, Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer had his left leg amputated because of cancer. Tisdale's standing ovation at halftime and Oklahoma's one point victory should have been the main story lines of this game. I hope Washington's actions don't overshadow the real story.

Anna Clemmons wrote a phenomenal article on Tisdale that was recently posted on Here is the link:


Matthew Ryter keeps you up to date on the world of college basketball with his "Ryter's Block" column.  What do you think about this story? Post your comments below: