Saturday’s Final Four game between Auburn and Virginia had more controversial calls packed into the final 1.5 seconds than most games have in 40 minutes. First, the Cavaliers’ Ty Jerome appeared to get away with a double dribble. Then the Tigers’ Samir Doughty fouled Virginia’s Kyle Guy on a three-point attempt with 0.6 seconds left. Guy hit all three foul shots, and the Cavaliers advanced to Monday’s national title game with a 63-62 win.
And just as Bruce Pearl did immediately following Saturday’s game (“You’ve just got to get on to the next play,” he said), Auburn’s coach again preached moving past the missed call during an appearance Monday morning on ESPN’s “Get Up."
“The biggest point I want to make, and I’m sincere in this, I’m not just saying this because it’s politically the right thing to say: There is human error involved in the game. Kids make mistakes, coaches make mistakes. Yes, officials will make mistakes. That’s part of the game. Get over it,” he said.
“Sometimes they’re going to go your way; sometimes they’re not going to go your way. Are we going to give God less glory because we lost and . . . only because we win? Stop. Grow up; this is part of the game. These kids taught us I think, in many, many ways how to handle defeat. And that’s a difficult thing to do for these young kids. And I’m proud of them.”
Former college basketball official John Clougherty, who refereed 12 Final Fours between 1985 and 2000, said Monday on “The David Glenn Show” in North Carolina that he recognized Jerome’s double dribble the moment it happened but also said referee James Breeding made the correct call on the Doughty foul (J.D. Collins, the NCAA’s national coordinator of officiating, also said after the game that Breeding’s call was on the money; he did not comment on the missed double-dribble).
“I would have been extremely disappointed in James Breeding, who I think is a very good official, if he didn’t blow the whistle on Kyle Guy’s three-point shot at the end of the game,” Clougherty said. “If a referee won’t call that because of the pressure, he/she doesn’t need to be there.”
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