Texas A&M’s Tyrece Radford tumbled to the court Tuesday with less than 30 seconds to play.
Tennessee basketball guard Zakai Zeigler dove to the floor with Radford as the ball popped out. Santiago Vescovi reached to try and force a jump ball as Aggies coach Buzz Williams called timeout at the other end of the court. He was granted it and the Tennessee bench went nuts.
“My only concern was a timeout was called from way down on the bench,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said. “I don’t think that’s allowed in a scrum scenario like that. But if the officials saw that they had the ball then it’s obviously the right call.”
No. 13 Tennessee (20-8, 9-6 SEC) ultimately lost 68-63 at No. 25 Texas A&M (21-7, 13-2), UT’s fifth loss in past seven games.
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UT got within one on a Zeigler floater with 25 seconds to play. The Vols called timeout and set up their defense. Texas A&M guard Andre Gordon inbounded the ball to Radford, who lost control of it amid the pressure from the Vols. He eventually corralled it enough to pass to Gordon, who flung the ball down the court.
But Texas A&M had already been granted a timeout. Williams called for one at the other end of the court with 22 seconds to play.
“It’s been a long time coming since I’ve seen a coach, referee call a timeout when they (coach) are 50 feet from the play in a scrum,” Barnes said. “But if he saw it, he saw it. He’s a terrific official and if he saw it, he did the right thing.”
The Vols forced a turnover on the following inbound attempt as Vescovi and Zeigler deflected a Radford pass with 17 seconds remaining. Vescovi came down with the ball, but Aggies guard Wade Taylor stole it back. UT fouled Taylor, who made two free throws and Tennessee was toast.
Zeigler missed a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds, the Aggies made two more free throws and UT lost its fourth straight road game.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.