Officals Still Catching Heat At Bud Walton

FAYETTEVILLE -- It was not the easiest of first halves for Southeastern Conference officials Tom Lopes, Antinio Petty and Tracy Woodson, who worked the Auburn-Arkansas game on Saturday.

In the aftermath of Arkansas' controversial 66-63 overtime loss at LSU on Wednesday night, Saturday's refs were serenaded with boos at the outset in Bud Walton Arena.

Then when Hogs guard Eric Ferguson blocked the first shot of the game by Auburn freshman Toney Douglas and no foul call was forthcoming, Tigers coach Jeff Lebo asked an official, "What was THAT?"

The three refs managed to upset both Lebo and UA coach Stan Heath several times, while Arkansas fans yelled things like, "You'd better review that one."

When gray-haired crew chief Lopes of Berlin, Md., failed to realize right away that Auburn's seventh foul of the half had put Arkansas in the one-and-one situation, a student wag called out, "Senior moment?"

Other students held signs that read, "Available For Hire" and "Bad Call."

Both Ian Young and Douglas of Auburn shook their heads over a no-call or two, as Arkansas was called for just five fouls to Auburn's 13 in the first half.

For the game, there were 24 fouls called on Auburn, 11 on Arkansas.

"They were making some tough calls," Douglas said. "But I don't like to blame officials. You have to play through it on the road."

Lebo, who patted Auburn guard Quinnel Brown on the back as they walked off the court after a 95-59 loss, afterwards praised Arkansas guard Eric Ferguson for his defense on Douglas, and took the high road on officiating.

"In this league, they don't call a lot of that banging stuff," Lebo said. "Ferguson is strong."

Douglas, who made just 3 of 13 floor shots, said, "If I miss 20 in a row I'm gonna keep shooting. I just had a bad game, but I'm not gonna have too many of those."


Eddie Fogler, a former basketball coach at Wichita State, Vanderbilt and South Carolina, did the color analysis for Saturday's Jefferson Pilot telecast.

After the game, Arkansas announcer Paul Eells asked Fogler, 56, if he'd like to coach again.

"No, no, I surrendered three years ago," Fogler said. "I haven't lost a game in years."

Fogler was asked about the general quality of SEC basketball this season.

"I don't know -- it's too early to really say," Fogler said. "But I'll say Arkansas is more impressive in person than on TV. They've got a chance to make a run.

"There are a couple of teams in the league that could surprise by tournament time. Florida is another one. They've showed some spunk, and now Matt Walsh is back. Arkansas, if they can take care of business at home and win a couple on the road, should be all right."

Lebo assisted Fogler at South Carolina from 1993-98.


Ed Manning, a Memphis Grizzlies scout and the father of former Kansas star Danny Manning, attended Saturday's game and will return for this Saturday's Kentucky-Arkansas game in Barnhill Arena.

Manning liked the way Hogs guard Ronnie Brewer got his teammates involved in the game, and was also impressed by Auburn's young guards.

Manning said his son, now an assistant under Bill Self at Kansas, "wanted to learn the college game from a coaching standpoint, and Bill is a good one to learn from."


Marcus Monk, who got some of Rashard Sullivan's minutes at the ‘4' position for Arkansas against a small Auburn team on Saturday, had a breakaway thunder dunk with 1 minute, 14 seconds left on which the ball bounced rim-high after going through the basket.

Earlier, a successful dunk by Arkansas' Olu Famutimi caromed crazily and took two bounces into a courtside media table.

Famutimi's dunk put Arkansas up 51-33, but he was taken out of the game by Heath later because he didn't mix it up in going for a loose ball.

"He didn't get on the floor," Heath said.


Heath said he wasn't looking past Auburn to the Kentucky game.

When UA trainer Dave England asked him how he slept on Friday night, Heath answered, "Come on, you know I can't sleep (before games)."

The Tigers showed why by taking an early 18-12 lead on Arkansas.

"I knew before the game that if we fouled a lot and put them on the free throw line, we could have some problems," Heath said.

But as noted above, Arkansas fouled just 11 times in the game.

All in all, Heath said, "I think, top to bottom, this was the most complete game we've played in the SEC."

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