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Rodney Terry calls it ‘classless’ for UCF players to do horns down in handshake line after win over Texas

The alternative to being upset about how other teams behave on your home court is to win.

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, Texas — “Why you mad?”

The handshake line after the UCF Knights came into the Moody Center on Wednesday evening and beat the Texas Longhorns 77-71 in a game the Longhorns led by as many as 15 points in the second half devolved into at least one visiting player wondering why Texas head coach Rodney Terry was so upset he told multiple UCF players, “That’s classless. Don’t do that shit.”

After spending roughly 45 minutes in the home locker room addressing his team, which is now 1-3 in conference play, Terry wasn’t any more calm about what happened following the loss, going on a minute-long rant.

“I’m a big believer in, you win the right way, you lose the right way. I always tell my guys, whether you win or lose, you win the right way, you lose the right way, you carry yourself the right way. I’m proud of getting to handshake line and have six or seven guys putting the horns down. We don’t do that, because when you do those kinds of things, it looks very classless and it also just looks like you were hoping to win,” said Terry.

“We never go into games trying to hope to win. We go into games expecting to win, so we don’t act like that. We expect to win — we don’t jump up and down like we won a national championship. We sure don’t step on anyone’s home court deal trying to show them up in any way. We don’t do that, so that’s what I was angry about and I was letting those guys know you don’t do that. You guys won. Hey, we shake hands, shake your hand, tip my hat to you. But we’re not gonna let you act that way, you’re in our building. You’re not gonna do that, you’re not gonna put your horns down and do all that nonsense.”

When UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins addressed the incident prior to Terry’s arrival in the post-game press conference, he wasn’t sure what transpired. Given a summary of what the camera caught, Dawkins responded.

“Well, that’s not the type of program we run,” said Dawkins. “So if I see that, I will be addressing that personally. From my standpoint, I know Coach Terry, he’s a great man and I have a lot of respect for his program... We’re all about having class as a program, so I’ll go back and review what happened and if there’s any action that needs to be taken on my end and from our staff, I will do that.”

The issue for Terry is that discussions of class and how other teams conduct themselves is fundamentally the province of teams that lose, something the Longhorns are doing too much of early in Big 12 play after a non-conference schedule that was clearly inadequate in preparing Texas for the grind of the nation’s best basketball league.

Terry’s program has already missed chances to notch victories in some of the most winnable games on the conference schedule, now has the first losing streak in the history of the Moody Center, which was notably lacking in intensity because fans are already giving up on this team, and is heading into a stretch that includes 11 ranked opponents in the final 14 games.

Whether that time spent policing that behavior is on the court after losses or in post-game press conferences after losses, concern about the optics of how teams behave after they beat the Longhorns is a terrible look that plays well with no one. No one.

Just win.