Buzz contacts SEC

Vol basketball coach Buzz Peterson contacted the SEC office this morning regarding some questionable calls that went against Tennessee in Saturday night's 66-63 loss at South Carolina.

Over the final 9 1/2 minutes of that game officials called 11 fouls on the Vols and just one on Carolina, enabling the Gamecocks to come from behind and win. Four UT fouls were particularly controversial -- charging calls against Major Wingate and Brandon Crump (each time when SC's Carlos Powell made exagerrated ''flops'') and two defensive fouls on C.J. Watson (one on a 3-point shot, one on a drive that gave Carolina its final two points from the free throw line).

Peterson criticized the officials immediately after the game and is still questioning their judgment two days later. That's why he called John Guthrie, the SEC's supervisor of officials, Tuesday morning.

''I just asked him to review the tape of some of the calls, and he said he would,'' Peterson said. ''It was a good conversation.''

The Vol coach said he called Guthrie to ''make sure he was aware of the ballgame, how uneven it (foul calling) was in those last 9 1/2 minutes. I know nothing's going to be changed (regarding the game's outcome) but when you've got young men out there working their tail off, giving their all and they're very upset in the locker room, I've got to take up for those young men, make sure they're treated fair. That's my job.''

Peterson said Crump and Wingate were so upset by the charging calls against them that they ''had water coming out of their eyes'' after the game.

Ultimately, Peterson says he called Guthrie for one reason:

''Hopefully, nobody (among the officials at Columbia) had any personal issues with me or anybody on my staff,'' the Vol coach said. ''He (Guthrie) assured me there was no personal issues between the officials and our staff.''

Peterson wanted to make sure there is no animosity toward his staff because one of the officials who worked the UT-USC game, Doug Shows, also is scheduled to work Wednesday night's UT-Florida game in Gainesville.

''I just hope it's called fair,'' Peterson said. ''I hope he sees what he sees and does a good job of making good judgment calls.''

As upset as he was with the officials who worked the Carolina game, Peterson declined to blame them for Tennessee's loss.

''We had our opportunities at both ends of the floor to win the ballgame,'' he said. ''We didn't do a very good job of executing on offense and we had some missed box-outs that hurt us. If we'd done those things, we'd be talking about a win.''

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