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Grant Williams Was Just Like Most Tennessee Fans During the Purdue Game

Grant Williams
VFL and Celtics forward Grant Williams. Photo via @Celtics on Twitter.

Heading into the Elite Eight matchup between Tennessee and Purdue, many media members and fans focused on two big storylines: the head-to-head meeting between Dalton Knecht and Zach Edey, and Edey’s ability to draw fouls. A third of the questions that Rick Barnes fielded before the game were either about Edey’s presence inside, Edey’s ability to draw fouls, and Purdue’s play in the paint around Edey as a whole.

Quickly into the game between the Vols and the Boilermakers from the Elite Eight in Detroit, it was apparent that the projected storyline of Edey and foul calls were certainly going to come to fruition. By the end of the contest, Purdue had shot 33 free throws compared to Tennessee’s 11. Edey himself took 22 free throws on the night despite only being called for one foul during 39 minutes on the court in a physical battle.

Tennessee fans replying to Rocky Top Insider’s live updates on X constantly pointed back to officiating calls, highlighting areas or moments in which they thought the whistle went against Tennessee in an unfair way.

It looks as though two former Tennessee greats may have felt a similar way, drawing from their own experience in the NCAA Tournament.

“Guess the stripes stay the same five years later,” VFL Grant Williams tweeted shortly after the conclusion of the game on Sunday. Williams also posted a face-melting emoji while tagging former collegiate foe and NBA teammate Carsen Edwards.

Former Vol Admiral Schofield replied to Williams’ tweet and said, “Disgusting display,” with a laughing emoji.

Edwards, a guard for Purdue from 2016 to 2019 and a former teammate of Williams on the Boston Celtics, replied back.

More from RTI: Zach Edey: Rick Barnes, Tennessee ‘Looked Over Me’ In Recruiting

Williams’s tweet references the controversial and not-soon-forgotten 2019 Sweet 16 game between Tennessee and Purdue that involved Schofield, Edwards, and himself.

After a back-and-forth final five minutes in the game, Tennessee led Purdue 82-80 with 2.7 seconds left in regulation. Purdue found Edwards in the corner off the inbounds pass, who threw up a three-point shot with Lamonte Turner guarding him. Edwards’ shot missed but Turner was called for the foul. Edwards would go on to hit two of his three free throws and send the game into overtime, eventually leading to a win for the Boilermakers.

While Rick Barnes did acknowledge the foul on Turner after the game for having a clear path to land, the Tennessee fanbase, former players, and media members alike took to social media to share their displeasure with the officiating and the referees.

Who knows? Maybe in another five years, Tennessee will controversially lose to Purdue again in the NCAA tournament, prompting a social media response from Zakai Zeigler or Josiah-Jordan James or someone else on the Vols’ roster. We’ll just have to wait and see.

After being traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Charlotte Hornets at the NBA Trade Deadline this season, Williams has been much closer to the Tennessee program. The former Vol was in Knoxville for Tennessee’s home win over Auburn on Feb. 28 and was in Columbia, S.C., for Tennessee’s SEC regular season championship-clinching win over South Carolina on March 6.

Tennessee also went 2-0 inside Williams’ home arena of the Spectrum Center in Charlotte during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament this year.

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One Response

  1. The referees need to call fouls on both sides especially on Eddy who was not called for at least 10 fouls before a foul was called on him. Read what Josh Dobbs said about it. He said what I just said. More fouls should have been called on Eddy and every Tn. Fan saw it with their own eyes.. Enough said.

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