With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Ole Miss was on the verge of a marquee, program-shaking win. The Rebels, 9-5 in a conference they were picked to finish dead last in, were looking to add a top-10 home win to Kermit Davis’ shocking first-year résumé. After freshman Blake Hinson sunk the second of a pair of free throws, Ole Miss led No. 7 Tennessee 71-68.
With 18 seconds remaining, Tennessee’s Jordan Bowden hit a jumper to cut the Rebels’ lead to one.
No one could image that, over the remaining 17 seconds, Ole Miss would have its leading scorer and one of its top free throw shooters miss the front end of a one-and-one, lose its one-point lead, be whistled for an offensive foul on a last-second shot, see its head coach get hit with a technical foul, and watch its fans throw cups on the floor in disgust at the referees.
Never doubt the evil creativity of the Sports Gods’ scriptwriters.
Because there was so much activity in so little time, we need to slow things down and get a better understanding of what we witnessed. That means we’re going to break down the last 17-ish seconds of game action and a tiny slice of the aftermath through the power of screenshots.
Grant Williams - noted basketball player...
We pick things up after Breein Tyree missed his free throw, giving Tennessee a chance to take the lead. The Vols spread the floor, getting Grant Williams—a Naismith player of the year candidate—isolated in space against Rebel big man Bruce Stevens. Stevens played very well, but he’s overmatched here.
Given the circumstances, he held his own. Also, there was some question as to whether Williams traveled on this play. While it was close, I don’t think he did.
Here’s where his lead foot is when he picks up the ball:
And then he goes up to shoot.
And of course Williams made a ridiculously hard shot, putting Ole Miss down one with 4.3 seconds to play. Ole Miss elects not to use a timeout so Tennessee’s defense couldn’t get set, and in that scramble, Devontae Shuler is the only guy who isn’t tightly covered.
As the ball is inbounded to Shuler, the surrender cobras have already broken out. These five individuals already know what’s coming.
Chaos reigns as Shuler tries to push the ball down the floor as quickly as he can, which is a perfect time to get a shot of what Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is thinking.
GRIPPING TELEVISION, I TELL YOU. The mental math in Barnes’ head this moment should’ve caused smoke pouring out his ears, honestly.
By the time Shuler reaches mid-court, he doesn’t have many options. It’s three Ole Miss players against four Tennessee defenders, and only Terence Davis (at the top of the screen) is moving down the floor. Tennessee does a nice job of corralling Shuler, making sure he’s not going to be able to push the ball past the three-point line.
And now the hour of controversy is at hand. Scholars will likely debate this moment for centuries, as arguments for both a charge and block have merit. Let’s take a closer look at whether Admiral Schofield had position on Shuler.
As much as this makes me a BAD REBEL, I believe Schofield got there juuuuuuust in time, but, given the subjective nature of officiating, if another referee is there in place of Pat Adams, maybe he sees it differently. Regardless, as soon as the whistle blew, you knew a 50/50 call was more like 99/1.
Speaking of Pat Adams, let us take in his interpretive charge dance, which everyone was furious about having to sit through 39 minutes and 58.9 seconds of college basketball before finally being able to see it.
Now, we get to the good stuff. As Adams is sticking the landing on his dance, Kermit Davis is 85 percent on his way to NO NEED FOR THIS DAGGUM JACKET.
Kermit rips off the jacket and fires it in like a pitcher painting the outside corner of the plate with 95-MPH fastball. I mean, look at that form. Legs generating the power and a textbook arm angle.
From the reverse angle, you can see he’s whipping his hips through and dropping the arm angle to three-quarters delivery.
Somewhat related and a free idea to the Oxford Sonic (RIP University Avenue Oxford Sonic; you were too beautiful for this world, as well as a total pain to get out of): Free tots every time Kermit Davis rips off his jacket and spikes it on your ad on the ribbon board.
As you might expect, the officials were none too pleased with Kermit releasing his frustrations with them. Two officials immediately gave him a technical foul, but he came right back at them.
Once Kermit ripped off his jacket, you may have noticed a little perspiration showing through his shirt. I don’t want to say he was sweating profusely to the tenth power, but can y’all find the Great Salt Lake on this map?
I, for one, found Kermit’s flip out cathartic. As mentioned above, the officials were bad the whole game and got worse as time went on, so it was nice to live vicariously through someone who was having it affect his livelihood.
Note: If he had picked up his jacket and thrown it a second time, I would’ve driven overnight to Oxford and started building the damn Kermit statue myself.
As for the hollerin’, when they tell you exemplary cooperation is the way to go:
When they add that they can’t wait to tell our story:
After the game ended, people threw garbage on the floor so that it could unite with its fellow garbage in the officials. Probably not the greatest choice because you’re adding one more thing an employee or unpaid intern has to do before he or she can go home.
And let’s not forget that you’re also inviting the CLASSY POLICE to execute a pre-dawn raid on your place of residence.