Watch: Fan Interference in Game's Final Second Costs Georgia


An overzealous fan went a bit too far in an apparent attempt to rattle a free-throw shooter in the final second of Georgia’s game against Mississippi State on Wednesday.

With 0.5 seconds left and the game tied at 67, a fan threw a promotional beanbag dog on the court while Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon was shooting the first of two free throws.

He missed the first attempt, but the referees called a technical foul, citing fan interference as the stuffed animal landed near Weatherspoon.

You can see the stuffed animal here, circled in blue.

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Georgia head coach Tom Crean took to the public address system to say something to the crowd. It’s impossible to hear in the video because the announcers talked right over him, but according to folks who were there, Crean said, “Stay with us. Don’t throw anything on the court.”

Weatherspoon then made the second free throw to give Mississippi State the lead. He intentionally missed the technical foul to essentially run out the clock.

It’s hard to say that the fan cost Georgia the game since Weatherspoon made the second free throw, which he had coming to him anyway, and missed the technical. But it gave him two to make one, which certainly improved his odds.

After the game, Crean said he was surprised the refs called a technical foul.

“I’ve never seen that, not without a warning and certainly (not) without an explanation,” Crean said, reported the Athens Banner-Herald. “I didn’t even know we were assessed a technical until I turned to the coaches to tell me what was going on. It’s not like anybody came and explained anything to me.”

Crean said a warning is usually issued before a technical is called, particularly in a case where it’s not clear which team’s fans threw the object on the court.

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Do you think the technical for fan interference was the right call?

Weatherspoon would have had a second free throw no matter what, but the pressure of a freebie free throw might have made all the difference.

“That was a huge play and I can’t imagine who did that, but that was not smart,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland, reported the Banner-Herald. “He might miss the second one, so we’re very fortunate to sneak out of here with a win tonight.”

It’s just another disappointing loss for Georgia in a disappointing season. The Bulldogs fell to 10-16 and 1-12 in the SEC.

Mississippi State improved to 19-7 and 7-6 in the conference.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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