Don MacLean, remorseful but still defiant, said Tuesday that he made a "stupid play" Sunday when he threw the ball at Arizona's Brian Williams, drawing a technical foul in the second half of UCLA's 105-94 overtime loss at Pauley Pavilion.
That would put him in agreement with ABC-TV commentator Dick Vitale, who sharply criticized the UCLA forward during the nationally televised game.
"Bush-league move," Vitale told his audience after a replay showed MacLean throwing a two-handed pass at Williams' crotch as Williams was sprawled on the floor after colliding with UCLA's Mitchell Butler. "Flat-out bush. Flat-out second-rate move.
"No need for that. He could cost them a chance to win the Pac-10 if they lose this game. Very poor play by Don MacLean."
Interjected play-by-play announcer Keith Jackson: "Well, he's got a temper. It flashes."
Said Vitale: "Aw, that's just immaturity. He's too experienced. He's too talented (for that)."
On Monday night, Vitale made another reference to the play during ESPN's telecast of the Ohio State-Michigan game, again criticizing UCLA's top scorer.
MacLean, who has tried to shed his image as a whiner and a woofer, said that he got caught up in the emotion of the moment.
The 6-foot-5 Butler, driving from the right wing, had dunked over the 6-11 Williams, giving UCLA a 77-75 lead with 4 minutes 46 seconds left in an intense game.
When the ball came through the hoop and bounced off the floor, MacLean retrieved it and quickly threw it at Williams.
"It was one of those things you do kind of subconsciously," MacLean said. "You don't say, 'Next time down, I'm going to throw the ball at him.' Mitchell dunked on him and it got our crowd going. Everybody was riled up. I just kind of did it.
"It's really something I've gotten away from this year, I think, so to do something like that was really stupid on my part. I'm sure it won't happen again."
MacLean, though, didn't believe that the play cost the Bruins the game, which was sent into overtime when Arizona's Chris Mills barely beat the buzzer with a baseline jump shot after chasing down a loose ball.
"I don't believe that for a second," said MacLean, who led UCLA with 28 points but made only seven of 20 shots and seemed frustrated throughout.
Earlier, when MacLean said something to official Willis McJunkin, Jackson told the television audience: "If it's anybody other than Willis McJunkin, (MacLean) probably wouldn't have gotten away with what he just said."