Former Texas head coach Tom Penders called out referee Doug Sirmons following the Texas Tech basketball team’s loss to Oklahoma State on Monday night.
Tom Penders has seen just about all there is to see in the game of college basketball. After all, the now-retired former head coach and member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame won 648 games over the course of a 36-season coaching career. Thus, when a coach with that many skins on the wall cries foul, it carries some weight and that’s exactly what he did after the Texas Tech basketball team’s 74-69 loss to Oklahoma State on Monday night.
Specifically, Penders, who was the head coach at seven difference schools including Texas, Houston, George Washington, and Rhode Island, took referee Doug Sirmons to task for a controversial technical foul that Sirmons assessed to Texas Tech guard Clarence Nadolny. On Twitter following the game, Penders accused the long-time official of having a “vindictive attitude” for assessing the technical even though Clarence Nadolny was walking away from the play.
For certain, the sophomore guard did have a demonstrable reaction after being shoved to the ground in the scramble for a loose ball only to see no foul called and to have the ball awarded to Oklahoma State. Nadolny is a fierce competitor and he plays with a feisty edge so it was no surprise to see him gesticulate a bit after being the victim of poor officiating.
But in no way did Nadolny try to show up Sirmons nor did he direct any of his frustrations towards his opponent. Basketball is an emotional game, especially last night’s contest, and Nadolny should have been given a bit of leeway following the wrestling match he had just been involved in.
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However, Sirmons is known for having a quick whistle. In fact, he once ejected Kentucky head coach John Calipari just four minutes into a game. And last night, he jumped at the opportunity to make an example of Nadolny and, as Penders points out, that completely changed the course of the game.
At the time, Tech was ahead 47-39 with 12:34 left on the clock. But following the Sirmons technical, the Cowboys would rattle off 15 unanswered points.
Now, in all fairness, Texas Tech should have been able to respond and make a few buckets to stem the tide. But it was at that point in the game where the officiating completely took over, and not in Tech’s favor.
From there to the end of the game, the Red Raiders would be called for 11 fouls sending OSU to the line 20 times. Meanwhile, in that same timeframe, OSU would be whistled for just three fouls and the Red Raiders would shoot only four free-throws. What’s more, in the OT period, Tech was awarded no free throws while OSU was granted eight.
It all adds up to a horrifically officiated game and one that Sirmons and his fellow officials Doug Ron Groover and Bert Smith should be ashamed to have presided over. (Interestingly, the last time Bert Smith officiated a Tech game, it was the WVU contest in Lubbock when Chris Beard was ejected after seeing the Mountaineers have a 39-20 edge at the line.) Unfortunately, they will receive no repercussions for their ineptness while the Texas Tech basketball team will be who has to pay the price for the incompetence these officials displayed on Monday night.