From what Rick Barnes saw, Tennessee should have had at least one more defensive possession in Saturday's 76-75 loss to Georgia.
Lamonte Turner put up a three from the right side of the court with about 10 seconds to play and trailing by four. Video replay does show Georgia forward Derek Ogbeide getting his hand on the ball near the cylinder of the goal. Officials let the game continue to the displeasure of the Thompson-Boling Arena fans, whose boos rang loudly soon after the no-call.
A long rebound went back to Turner, who did drain a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But trailing by four, all that basket did was cut Georgia's win from four points to one.
After the game, Barnes said he disagreed with the call on the court.
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“It was a goal-tend,” Barnes said. “You can’t hit the ball. The ball is in the cylinder.”
If the basket counted, Tennessee would have trailed 76-75 with roughly 7.6 seconds to play, Barnes said. Georgia would have been forced to inbound the basketball, with the Volunteers getting an opportunity to create a steal or foul to send the Bulldogs to the free-throw line.
That would, in theory, allow Tennessee one more chance to tie or win the game.
“The TV copy showed and what we saw, the ball was definitely being touched,” Barnes said. “It’s a big play. The clock should have stopped with 7.6 (seconds), or something like that. That’s what we were told and what we saw was a hand on the ball. The ball is at the cylinder – whether it is or isn’t is kind of irrelevant. Again, it’s a tough one.”
While that turned out to be a crucial call to go against the Volunteers, Tennessee did allow Georgia to rally from a 14-point deficit in the second half. The Bulldogs shot 52 percent from the field and made seven of their 19 3-point attempts.
Tennessee's defense didn't have an answer for Georgia guard J.J. Frazier, who scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half.
For Georgia, it was perhaps the first time in a while that it got a call like this in its favor. Earlier this year, Georgia had a final possession negated due to a clock error against Texas A&M, with the Bulldogs losing the game. While Barnes would have preferred what he considered the right call to be made, he decided not to complain too much about it publicly due to Georgia's previous plight.
“No one’s had tougher luck than Georgia this year,” Barnes said. “So I can’t say anything about that.”