The Auburn Basketball Team (13-11, 3-7) started out hot last night connecting on its first five shots to take a 10-4 lead against Alabama over the first five minutes.
Then through the eyes of this homer it appeared that the referees changed the complexion of the game. That's not to take anything away from the Tide who despite the absence of suspended starter Tony Mitchell put together a convincing win.
We knew it was going to be an up hill battle going in and the Tigers could not afford to make mistakes. With the Tigers leading 14-7, Kenny Gabriel was called for the first of three first-half technical fouls against Auburn for hanging on to the rim after a dunk. Kenny finished the game with 21 points for the Tigers.
The free throws off the technical's led to a 28-10 run by Alabama over the final 12 minutes of the half leaving the Tigers trailing 35-24 at the break.
Alabama (16-7, 5-4) scored 12 points in the first half off the three technical fouls including another for Chris Denson hanging on the rim and one on Coach Barbee.
There's no question that changed the complexion of the game, causing the Tigers to become frustrated committing 20 turnovers and seeing the Tide pull away with a lead they just couldn't make up. Auburn needed to keep this one close to have a chance but it was a chance that was taken away by the fouls.
However, Tony Barbee would have no part in placing blame for the loss on officiating. He said afterwards, " "We got off to a great start, and we had a lot of momentum on our side. Then it came to a stop. It came down to toughness, and that is why we lost our momentum. It had nothing to do with the technical fouls."
I appreciate Coach Barbee taking that stance, but as a fan, I can say it had a lot to do with it.
You just hate to see any athletic contest be affected by poor officiating. Bama may well have won without the help from the technical's but we will never know.
Regardless, it goes down as an ' L' for the Tigers. The only thing they can do about it is work harder and play smarter.