Syracuse's Frank Howard Denies Trying to Trip Duke's Zion Williamson

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 04:  Frank Howard #23 of the Syracuse Orange motions to a teammate during the first half against the Virginia Cavaliers at the Carrier Dome on March 4, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Virginia defeats Syracuse 79-53.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Duke star Zion Williamson's return to the court Thursday was flawless, though Syracuse's Frank Howard became the source of controversy in the first half.

Early in Duke's 84-72 win, Howard stuck his foot out in what seemed like an attempt to trip Williamson:

When asked about the incident after the game, Howard denied any wrongdoing:

Howard added the following, per Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com: "He tripped over my foot, and I said, 'Oh, I was not trying to trip you.' He was running back, I'm trying to get open. I'm being face-guarded. I didn't see the whole video, so I don't even want to answer too many questions about that. There isn't really much more to talk about."

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said afterward: "As far as what people were commenting on at halftime, I talked to Frank, I looked at the video; there was no trip involved out there. I don't know who was talking about that, but it was a bump, and...that's it. It was nothing there. Trying to manufacture something out of nothing."

Williamson showed no lingering effects from a knee injury that cost him five games, as the ACC Player of the Year had 29 points, 14 rebounds and five steals on a perfect 13-of-13 shooting.

Controversy aside, Howard did everything in his power to keep Syracuse in the game, leading the Orange with a career-high 28 points.

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