The story of the #4 South Carolina Gamecocks' 76-74 upset loss to the Tennessee Volunteers 76-74 may have been caused by various factors, but it will be overshadowed by one of the more controversial calls in college basketball this year.
With five seconds left and the game tied at 74 after a Bianca Cuevas-Moore three-pointer, Tyasha Harris was whistled for a blocking foul on Tennessee’s Jaime Nared. Replays appeared to show Nared being tripped up on her own, but the referees apparently thought much differently. Nared made both and Cuevas-Moore’s desperation heave was well off to send the Gamecocks to their first SEC loss since March 1, 2015 - a 67-56 loss to Kentucky in Lexington.
Tennessee's Jaime Nared on final foul call on Tyasha Harris: "I tripped on her foot. There's not much I could have done."— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) January 31, 2017
@DCTheState yeah I'm calling BS pic.twitter.com/Eo5TqTvzbL— Kyle Kemp (@kylekemp06) January 31, 2017
While the call will be debated for a while, the Gamecocks played far from their best game this evening. They faced a 11-point deficit with 5:51 left as the Lady Vols broke a 56-56 game into a 69-58 advantage on the strength of a 13-2 run. But the Gamecocks battled back with a 14-2 run of their own to make it a 72-71 Tennessee lead with 24 seconds left. After Nared made a pair of free throws on the other end, Cuevas-Moore nailed a big three - her second of the evening - to tie it at 74. That would set up the controversial call that sent Nared to the line for the eventual game-winning points.
Three Lady Vols enjoyed terrific evenings: Nared led all scorers with 27 points on 7-15 shooting (12-15 from the line), while Diamond DeShields and Mercedes Russell had 21 and 16, respectively. The Gamecocks put four in double figures (led by Cuevas-Moore’s 18).
South Carolina will have a few days to put this one aside before their next meeting, a Thursday night contest against Kentucky. Tipoff in Lexington is set for 7pm on the SEC Network.
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