UK Men's Basketball

Free-throw violation not called irks Stansbury

Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury charged referees with missing a critical call at the end of regulation that helped Kentucky win the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship on Sunday.

When Eric Bledsoe intentionally missed a free throw with 4.6 seconds to go in regulation, two UK teammates violated the rule that requires all players not lined up along the lane to remain behind the three-point and free-throw lines extended until the foul shot hits the rim.

Still photography and a video appeared on the Internet clearly showing John Wall well inside those lines while Bledsoe's shot is several feet from the basket.

No call was made. Wall chased down Bledsoe's intentional miss in the right corner, dribbled and took a three-point air ball that teammate DeMarcus Cousins laid in at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

UK won 75-74 in overtime to win the championship and dash Mississippi State's hopes of receiving an NCAA Tournament bid.

"It's not a judgment call," Stansbury said.

Gerald Boudreaux, the supervisor of SEC officials, supports Stansbury's contention that referees Tom Eades, Joe Lindsay and Ted Valentine did not correctly call the violation.

The video also shows State's Dee Bost and UK's Darius Miller improperly crossing the three-point and free-throw lines.

If the referees had called a double violation, the play would have been whistled dead and the ball awarded according to the possession arrow.

What irked Stansbury was the mistake came in a free-throw situation, not in the chaotic swirl of game action.

In the regular season, Mississippi State lost to Kentucky in overtime in a game that saw 10 calls made against the Bulldogs and none against UK in the game's final eight minutes. Stansbury said his anger over the non-call in the SEC Tournament was unrelated to the game in Starkville last month.

"The first game, I put behind me," he said. "I'm not a guy who cries over spilled milk very often. ... This was a hard pill to swallow because this was not a judgment call."

Stansbury, a native of Battletown, Ky., said he did not mean to detract from Kentucky. "Hey, congratulations to Kentucky," he said. "This isn't about Kentucky. ... This is about doing the right thing."

Murray player's mom dies

The mother of Murray State reserve guard Picasso Simmons was killed in a car crash Monday, on the eve of the team's departure for the NCAA Tournament.

Freeda Simmons died in Nashville, Murray State spokesman Dave Winder said. The Racers' first-round game is Thursday against Vanderbilt in San Jose, Calif.

Simmons' mother, who ran track at Murray in the early 1980s, was pleased the team made the tournament, Winder said.

"His mom was real, real happy that he was getting a chance to go," Winder said. "He just feels that she would want him to go, and he wants to honor her in that way."