Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl seemed fairly upset with the officiating in the Tigers’ 46-43 loss to Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville.
When meeting with Auburn media following the loss, Pearl applauded his team for being un-affected by the Thompson-Boling Arena environment. However, he made sure to note that although they weren’t affected, not all were.
Auburn HC Bruce Pearl: "I don't think we were affected at all by the environment, which was great. *We* weren't affected by the environment."
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) February 4, 2023
Pearl was subtle with his frustration of the officiating, not blatantly calling out the refs, but still expressing his irritation on how the game was called. Specifically, Pearl was irate after the refs didn’t call a foul on Olivier Nkamhoua during Auburn’s final possession.
Down three points with approximately 15 seconds remaining, the Tigers needed a three to tie the game. Wendell Green Jr. got a look in the final seconds and took a shot that missed, but Nkamhoua made contact after Green followed through. The refs did not blow the whistle, which was on-brand for how the entirety of the game played out, and the Vols held on to beat the Tigers.
Once the clock hit triple zeroes, Pearl bypassed the postgame handshakes and immediately began screaming at the refs.
Bruce Pearl was NOT HAPPY after no foul was called here 👀 pic.twitter.com/6ik4PBCQgA
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) February 4, 2023
In addition to Pearl, Auburn point guard Wendell Green Jr. expressed his frustration with the officiating after the game. Green was less-subtle with his irritation, though.
I respect all referees just like I respect all people…But What could you possibly have been looking at? 😭🤦🏽♂️
— WENDELL GREEN JR ✞💜 (@icyywen) February 4, 2023
Green scored nine points in the loss, shooting 2-10 from the field. The junior struggled to find rhythm offensively against Tennessee’s elite defensive guards Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi.
More From RTI: Three Quick Takeaways: Tennessee Beats Auburn In Rock Fight
Six-foot-10 forward Johni Broome was an early bright spot for the Tigers, tallying six early points on 3-3 shooting. Broome couldn’t keep the same efficiency throughout, though, as the sophomore had just five points in the last 35 minutes of the game.
Like Green, Broome took to Twitter to express his frustrations after the game, tweeting out four sideways laughing emojis.
— Johni Broome (@JohniBroome) February 4, 2023
Tennessee’s win over Auburn served as a needed bounce-back victory after their ugly loss to Florida on Wednesday. The Vols improved to 19-4 (8-2 SEC) on the season and will look to win their second game in a row against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Wednesday.