By LARRY VAUGHT
Talk about your strange ways to lose a game.
Host Georgia rallied from a 17-point deficit before losing 68-67 to Mississippi State Wednesday night after a Georgia fan threw a stuffed animal on the floor after Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon missed a free throw with 0.5 seconds left and the game tied 67-67.
Weatherspoon still had another free throw coming but before he shot the officials called a technical foul on Georgia to give him another free throw. He made one, then missed the next one — his third with 0.5 seconds left.
Mississippi State coach Ben Howland immediately called for a technical foul after the small stuffed animal landed a few feet from Weatherspoon. Georgia coach Tom Crean — as most coaches would have — took the arena microphone and asked fans not to throw anything on the floor without knowing the technical was being assessed.
Here’s what Crean said about the all after the game:
“To my knowledge, I’m 52 years of age, been a head coach for 19 years, been an assistant — been coaching since I was 18 and college since I was 20, I’ve never seen that. Not without a warning. And certainly without an explanation,” Crean said.
“So you know what my thought process is, I just saw something land on the floor, so my first reaction is to go to grab the mic myself. We’re in it together. I’ve done it my whole career as a head coach because that usually takes care of it. That usually takes care of it and you usually don’t have that problem again, and I’ve had officials in the past thank me for doing it, right. It’s just part of the game.
“But there was absolutely — I didn’t even know we were assessed a technical until I heard the coaches tell me what’s going on. It’s not like anybody came and explained anything to me. But that’s all I’m going to say about it because that’s the truth.
“I don’t have a better answer because I’ve never been a part of that. I mean, I know what the rule says. I know the rule says that you’ve got to be able to know who did it. It’s pretty hard to know in that situation. But that’s what we have.”