SEC admits blown call

It isn't much consolation, but the SEC confirmed today that officials apparently blew a call in the final seconds last night that helped seal Tennessee's doom in a 65-62 loss to Louisville.

A split-second after Scooter McFadgon hit a 3-pointer that closed the gap to 64-62 with 3 seconds left, Louisville tried an inbounds pass that ricocheted out of bounds off either Louisville's Taquan Dean or Tennessee's Stanley Asumnu. Louisville got the call. The Cardinals' next inbounds pass was gathered in by Francisco Garcia, who skidded out of bounds at side court as UT's John Winchester applied pressure.

Winchester was called for a foul -- supposedly for pushing -- although replays clearly showed that Garcia's momentum carried him across the sideline. Peterson was so enraged by the call that he slammed his fist onto the scorer's table. The call stood, however, and Garcia sealed the victory by sinking one of two free throw tries.

''I don't like the officials anticipating that we're going to foul right away,'' Peterson said. ''Sometimes we'll deny (the inbounds pass) and we won't foul right away. I think they've got to call it straight up.''

John Guthrie, supervisor of SEC officials, reviewed the game film, then telephoned UT's head man Monday morning to report that the call probably was improper.

''I got a phone call to apologize about it,'' Buzz Peterson said. ''He (Guthrie) called to say he's watched it, and that basically they (officials) could've been at fault on that.''

After watching the tape several times, Peterson is convinced that ''Garcia caught the ball out of bounds ... with no contact.''

''That was a mistake,'' he added, ''but the one that got me was the one before, when Stanley didn't touch it ... Taquan Dean knocked it out of bounds.''

Though disappointed, Peterson remains philosophical. He pointed out that, even if one of those calls had gone UT's way, the Vols would've faced the prospect of hitting a game-tying basket with less than three seconds left on the clock.

''They probably made a wrong call on it,'' he said of the officials, ''but what would we have done after that (with the ensuing possession)?''

Of course, the final seconds would've been a moot point if Tennessee hadn't surrendered a 12-0 Louisville run moments earlier that turned a seven-point UT lead into a five-point Cardinal cushion. Peterson conceded as much, noting: ''We should never have had ourselves in that situation.''

Although he called Sunday's officials ''a pretty good crew,'' the Vol coach said he was surprised Tennessee didn't shoot more free throws. Noting that Louisville's style of play makes for ''a physical ballgame, he added: ''There's holding and stuff going on. That's the way (Rick) Pitino prepares 'em for every game. But if they're hand-checking my players and taking them off the beaten path where they're trying to go, I think it needs to be called.''

Still, UT's head man declined to blame the loss on the guys in striped shirts.

''I will never blame officials,'' he said. ''They're human beings, just like us. They're going to make mistakes. As long as we have an honest game and they work hard, I'm satisfied.''

He's even more satisfied, though, now that Guthrie has called to admit the mistake.


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