NASHVILLE — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes had an interesting and subtle way of poking at the officiating during Friday’s 84-75 SEC tournament loss to LSU.
The background: Tennessee had the ball, trailing by four with just over four minutes left, when Robert Hubbs III was called for pushing off while driving. It appeared a questionable call at best.
On the next possession, LSU’s Antonio Blakeney drew a foul while shooting a 3. He drained all three free throws, making it a seven-point game with 3:59 left. The Volunteers would never make the game closer.
Barnes was asked about that sequence in his postgame press conference. He called it a “big swing,” and a “big call,” not quite expressly saying it was a bad call, but it came off that way.
“It’s a fine line,” Barnes said. “That’s what I said. It’s knowing your team has to be on top of their games. Officials have to be on top of their games too.”