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St. Joe’s forward Halil Kanacevic gives crowd middle finger, misses key free throws in loss to Villanova

Dec 12, 2012, 10:02 AM EDT

Halil Kanacevic AP

St. Joe’s forward Halil Kanacevic experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum Tuesday night in his team’s 65-61 loss to Villanova.

With the game tied at 47 with just under 10 minutes to go, the junior hit a three-pointer to give the Hawks a 50-47 lead. While jogging back down the floor on defense, as recounted by The700Level.com, Kanacevic flashed the middle finger to the Villanova faithful in attendance.

The Associated Press has a picture of the act floating on the wire, along with a censored version at CSNPhilly.com.

But things got worse for Kanacevic.

With under a minute remaining, he missed two free throws with his team up, 61-60. Villanova’s James Bell came back down the floor and hit a three-pointer that would put the Wildcats ahead.

Then, with 3.5 seconds remaining and his team down, 63-61, Kanacevic was tabbed with inbounding duties. In an attempt to avoid a five-second violation, he threw the ball off the leg of Villanova’s Maurice Sutton, but the ball bounced back and hit him before going out of bounds, causing a turnover.

The call was later disputed, but stood, giving Villanova a chance to seal the game, and they did.

“I did not [Kanacevic’s hand gesture] ‘cause there was a timeout called and I saw people coming off the court. I didn’t see it,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said after the game, as reported by CSN Philly’s Matt Haughton.

“One of the things that we will mention to them is that on the road you play to silence. That’s all you want. It certainly wasn’t a raucous atmosphere up until that point, but I’ll look at it and see,” he continued. “I don’t think it made us play faster or out of character. We just made some out-of-character plays and plays that were home runs instead of singles.”

After the game, Kanacevic deleted his Twitter account.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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