Bruce Pearl on Final Four officiating controversies: 'Get over it'

Bruce Pearl is moving on as best he can.

Not even two days removed from a brutal Final Four loss to Virginia, the Auburn head coach made a few media appearances Monday morning.

As expected, Pearl was asked about the two controversies that went in Virginia’s favor in the final minute of Saturday night’s game — the foul called on Samir Doughty as Kyle Guy attempted the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final seconds, and the missed double-dribble by Ty Jerome.

Pearl was reticent to criticize the officiating after the 63-62 loss. Given the opportunity to call out the officials on both ESPN and the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning, he similarly took the high road.

“The biggest point I want to make, and I’m sincere in this, I’m not just saying this because it’s politically the right thing to say. There is human error involved in the game,” Pearl said on ESPN’s Get Up!

“Kids make mistakes, coaches make mistakes. Yes, officials will make mistakes. That’s part of the game. Get over it. Sometimes they're going to go your way, sometimes they're not going to go your way.”

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March Madness: The best photos from the Final Four
Virginia players celebrate after defeating Auburn 63-62 in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Auburn's Horace Spencer (0) dunks during the first half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Virginia, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Virginia's Kyle Guy (5) shoots the last free throw to defeat Auburn 63-62 during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Auburn's Anfernee McLemore (24) reacts on the floor as Virginia celebrate after defeating Auburn 63-62 in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas Tech guard Kyler Edwards celebrates during the second half against Michigan State in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas Tech forward Tariq Owens lands on the scorers table while trying to save a ball from going out of bounds during the first half against Michigan State in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Bryce Brown #2 of the Auburn Tigers reacts after being defeated by the Virginia Cavaliers 63-62 during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Bryce Brown #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates in the second half against the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates with teammates after defeating the Auburn Tigers 63-62 during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Jared Harper #1 of the Auburn Tigers battles for the ball with Kihei Clark #0 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Tariq Owens #11 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders falls on the court as Xavier Tillman #23 of the Michigan State Spartans battles for the ball with Jarrett Culver #23 and Brandone Francis #1 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Tariq Owens #11 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders falls on court during the second half of the semifinal game in the NCAA Men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 06, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 06: Matt Mooney #13 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders reacts in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans during the 2019 NCAA Final Four semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 6, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Pearl missed Ty Jerome’s double-dribble, too

That comment was specifically in response to the missed double-dribble that almost certainly would changed the outcome of the game. Auburn led by two points when Jerome dribble the ball off his heel while attempting an around the back dribble. Jerome then picked up the loose ball and continued up the court for a few more steps before a foul was called on the Tigers, who had a foul to give.

Jerome should not have been allowed to advance the ball, but the officials missed it — as did the majority of folks watching in the arena and around the country.

Even Pearl missed it. He thought that Bryce Brown, who was closely guarding Jerome as he made his way up the court, got a hand on the ball, briefly knocking it away.

“I didn’t see it either,” Pearl said on the Dan Patrick Show. “When I saw the disruption in the play, I assumed that Bryce must have deflected it. But obviously Ty Jerome just lost it, picked it up, dribbled it again and at that point I was just glad they hadn’t got a shot off and we executed the foul and we were 1.5 seconds closer to advancing.”

If it had been Brown who deflected the ball, Jerome would have been able to regather possession and dribble upcourt without issue. But because it was an unforced loss of possession, Jerome should have been whistled for a double-dribble and a turnover.

Instead, the play carried on and Brown fouled Jerome with 1.5 seconds remaining, setting up what proved to be the winning play.

Pearl on refs: ‘They’re the best in the business’

After the foul on Auburn, Jerome inbounded to Guy in the corner. Guy got a shot up quickly, but was fouled by Doughty with 0.6 seconds to play. Guy then calmly sank all three free throws to give his team the lead and, soon after, a dramatic victory.

As it relates to the foul call on Doughty, Pearl reiterated what he said Saturday night. If that’s a call the officials are going to make early in the game, it’s a call they should make in the game’s final minute, too.

“As long as they’re going to call that foul early, call it late, but don’t call it just because it’s late. That’s why those three (officials) are on that game. They’re the best we have in the business. You just got to move on,” Pearl said.

Instead of lamenting the officiating down the stretch, Pearl said he has already done his fair share of reflecting on other aspects of the game. He was particularly critical of his own offensive gameplan.

“There were some things that I could have done better that are haunting me a little bit the last couple nights,” he told Patrick.

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