“Apparently, he didn’t like that I called a timeout to reset the 10-second call,” Gard told CBS Sports about Howard’s comments preceding the incident. “We only had 4 seconds to get the ball past half court. I didn’t want to put my bench guys in that position of scrambling, so I took the timeout. He did not like that when he came through the handshake line.”
Howard acknowledged in his postgame press conference that the late timeout was indeed why he was heated.
“I didn’t like the timeout they called, I’ll be totally honest,” he said. “I thought it was not necessary at that moment, especially with it being a large lead. … I thought that wasn’t fair to our guys.”
Howard recounted telling Gard that, in reference to the late timeout, he would “remember that”. Michigan’s coach defended his actions by noting that Gard initiated contact in the handshake line.
“For someone to touch me, I think that was very uncalled for,” he said. “That’s what escalated it. … At that point, I thought it was time to protect myself.”
Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh, who addressed the media after the game, said he has been in contact with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren about the incident and expects the league to act “swiftly and aggressively”.